Maine Needhams

READY IN: 40mins
Recipe by Mimi in Maine

Needhams are typical to Maine. They originated in Portland, Maine by a candy maker who had attended an evangelistic service in Portland in 1872. The evangelist's name was the Rev. George C. Needham and because of many conversions, his name was on everyone's lips. When the candy maker came back to his shop after one of the services, his candy makers were making a new candy. When he asked the name of this candy, a young candy maker said, "Call them Needhams". They are still made today, not only by the candy store, but by all of us Maine-ers who love to cook. Needhams are made with coconut and have a dark chocolate coating. They remind me of a Mound candy bar. They are delicious. This recipe halves easily, but who will want a half batch? Not me. NOTE: Someone reviewed this recipe and said that it was in "Cooking Down East". There is one there but it calls for 1/2 lb. coconut which is 8 oz. This one calls for 2 7-ounce bags or 14 ounces of coconut. If I had gotten it from this cookbook I would have given the woman credit for it, but I didn't. They are all very similar.

Top Review by GaylaJ

Fantastic candy! I think that anyone who loves coconut would love these Needhams. I made them over the holidays, and they went over very well. I lined the pan with buttered waxed paper, pressed the filling in, then laid another section of buttered waxed paper over the top. I took a slightly smaller pan and pressed it firmly and evenly on the top to make sure the filling was an even layer. I left the waxed paper pressed to the top and refrigerated overnight before proceeding. Rather than the chocolate/paraffin mix, I simply dipped in melted bittersweet chocolate. This recipe is a winner for sure--thanks for sharing it with us!

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. Pare, cook, and mash potato to make three-quarters of a cup.
  2. Add salt.
  3. Using double boiler place butter in it and melt over boiling water.
  4. Add mashed potato, confectioners sugar, flaked coconut, and vanilla.
  5. Mix well and turn into a buttered jelly roll pan and spread evenly.
  6. Place in a cool place to harden.
  7. When hard, cut into small squares.
  8. For the dipping chocolate, again use a double boiler.
  9. Place paraffin in the top over boiling water to melt.
  10. Then add the two kinds of chocolate and allow to melt.
  11. Stir well to mix ingredients.
  12. Dip in the chocolate mixture (with a fork, toothpick, or cake tester--I use a fork and put the square on top of the tines and dip it, letting the excess chocolate drip off before I lay it on the waxed paper).
  13. Hold each square over the chocolate mixture after dipping so the square drains well (I usually will have to reheat the chocolate inbetween dippings so it is nice and thin and drips of easily).
  14. Place on waxed paper to harden.
  15. Should make about 66 good sized needhams.
  16. This halves easily.

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