Sunday, May 13, 2007

Lindy at Reid State Park and Needhams

What a beautiful sunny day, perfect for going to the beach. Sherwood fixed a deluxe picnic. He made broccoli apple salad with maple garlic dressing, curried chicken salad in lettuce wraps, garlic oil for some sourdough bread with carrots, dried apples and garlic pickles on the side. We all piled in the van and drove the surprisingly short distance to Reid State Park. The sun was brilliant off the waves as we walked along Mile Beach. Elizabeth and I each found sand dollars. It was perfect to spend Mother's Day enjoying the ocean, having a picnic and spending time with family. Sherwood and I couldn't resist a lindy on the sand. We tried a new aerial and laughed the whole time. I can't think of anything better than a dance in the sun on the beach- or anywhere.
We all started home smelling summer-y and feeling that sleepy, sun drenched contentment that always follows a day at the beach. Along Route 127 in Georgetown we saw a little place called MainSweets (207-371-2806). The sign said homemade candy, so, knowing the number of sweet teeth contained in the van, we stopped. I'm so glad we did. Patty and Charlie Mains greeted us at the door. They were just delightful. They had a nice selection of baked goods, created there on the premises. Patty offered us each a Needham she had made herself. The kids marveled at the ingredients- how could potato, coconut and chocolate taste so good? I was reminded of my Grandmother Mattie Finnemore making Needhams in her farm kitchen. The recipe below is the closest I could find to the one I remember.
If you're travelling down to Reid State Park, stop in and say hello to Patty and Charlie. They'd just love to see you.

Needhams- Maine Chocolate Covered Coconut Candies
These are great for bake sales and gifts for the holidays. Feel free do double as necessary.
3/4 cup unseasoned mashed potatoes
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 pounds confectioners sugar
1/3 stick melted butter- use real butter here
1/2 pound flaked coconut
2 teaspoons vanilla
Chocolate Coating: 12 ounces chocolate chips
2 squares (ounces) semi-sweet chocolate
2 squares (ounces) bakers unsweetened chocolate
1/2 cake paraffin wax ( 2.5 x 2.5 inches) found in your baking or canning aisle in the market
Cook (3 or so) peeled potatoes (do not season them at all). Once they're fork tender, mash them in the bowl of an electric mixer and check to make sure you've got 3/4 cup. {If you end up with more- you can increase the recipe}. Add salt, melted butter, confectioner's sugar, flaked coconut and vanilla and beat until smooth and well blended.
Line a jelly roll pan with parchment paper. Spread the coconut mixture evenly- it will be very thick. Cover with another layer of parchment and press with your hands to make an even layer.
Chill overnight to 24 hours. Remove the parchment layer from the top of the candy. Turn pan over onto a cutting board. Peel away the bottom layer of parchment and cut into small, bite-sized squares- really whatever size you like.
Melt paraffin, semi-sweet and unsweetened chocolate in the top of a double boiler over medium heat. Lower heat and add chocolate chips. Stir until chocolate has melted but
mixture is still slightly thick. Leave the pan on low heat while you dip your Needhams one at a time to coat. Place dipped squares on a parchment lined pan- the jelly roll pan you just used will work well. Cool. Needhams will keep very well in the refrigerator.

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