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Needhams: The Delicious Treat from Maine

Have you ever tried Needhams? These sweet treats are a beloved tradition in the state of Maine. With their soft coconut filling and rich chocolate coating, they are a delightful indulgence for any dessert lover. In this article, we will explore the history of Needhams, their unique ingredients, and how you can make them yourself at home. So, let’s dive in and discover the magic of Needhams!

A Sweet History

Needhams have a long and storied history in Maine. They were first created in the early 20th century by a woman named Needham, hence the name. Legend has it that she was experimenting in her kitchen when she came up with the perfect combination of ingredients to create these delectable treats.

Since then, Needhams have become a beloved part of Maine’s culinary tradition. They are often enjoyed during special occasions like holidays and family gatherings. And no trip to Maine is complete without trying one of these sweet treats!

The Perfect Combination

What makes Needhams so special? It’s all in the combination of ingredients. The main component of a Needham is a sweet and creamy coconut filling. This filling is made by combining shredded coconut, powdered sugar, butter, and a hint of vanilla extract.

But what really takes Needhams to the next level is the rich chocolate coating. The coconut filling is dipped in melted chocolate, which creates a delicious contrast of flavors and textures. It’s like taking a bite of pure bliss!

Making Needhams at Home

Want to try making Needhams at home? It’s easier than you might think! Here’s a simple recipe to get you started:


  • Shredded coconut
  • Powdered sugar
  • Butter
  • Vanilla extract
  • Dark chocolate


  1. In a mixing bowl, combine shredded coconut, powdered sugar, melted butter, and vanilla extract. Mix well until the ingredients are fully incorporated.
  2. Shape the coconut mixture into small rectangular bars and place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  3. Place the baking sheet in the refrigerator for about an hour, or until the coconut bars are firm.
  4. Melt the dark chocolate in a double boiler or microwave, stirring until smooth.
  5. Dip each coconut bar into the melted chocolate, making sure to coat all sides.
  6. Place the chocolate-coated bars back on the parchment paper and let them set in the refrigerator for another hour.
  7. Once the chocolate has hardened, your homemade Needhams are ready to be enjoyed!

With this simple recipe, you can recreate the magic of Needhams in your own kitchen. Whether you’re a seasoned baker or a novice in the kitchen, making Needhams is a fun and rewarding experience.


1. Are Needhams gluten-free?

Yes, Needhams are typically gluten-free. The main ingredients, such as coconut and chocolate, do not contain gluten. However, it’s always a good idea to check the labels of the specific ingredients you’re using to ensure they are gluten-free.

2. Can I use milk chocolate instead of dark chocolate?

Absolutely! While the original recipe calls for dark chocolate, you can use milk chocolate if you prefer a sweeter taste. Feel free to experiment and find the chocolate that suits your palate.

3. How long do Needhams stay fresh?

When stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator, Needhams can stay fresh for up to two weeks. However, they are so delicious that they are usually devoured much sooner!

4. Can I add nuts to the coconut filling?

Of course! If you’re a fan of nuts, you can add chopped nuts like almonds or pecans to the coconut filling for an extra crunch. Just make sure to mix them in thoroughly before shaping the bars.

5. Are Needhams a traditional dessert in other states?

No, Needhams are primarily associated with Maine. They are a beloved treat that has become a symbol of the state’s culinary heritage. If you want to try Needhams, a trip to Maine is a must!

6. Can I freeze Needhams?

Yes, you can freeze Needhams for longer storage. Just make sure to wrap them tightly in plastic wrap or place them in an airtight container before freezing. Thaw them in the refrigerator before enjoying.

7. Are Needhams vegan-friendly?

Unfortunately, Needhams are not typically vegan-friendly. The traditional recipe includes butter, which is derived from dairy. However, you can experiment with vegan substitutes, such as coconut oil or vegan butter, to make a vegan version of Needhams.

8. Can I make Needhams without an oven?

Absolutely! The great thing about Needhams is that they don’t require baking. You can make them entirely on the stovetop and in the refrigerator, making them a perfect treat for those without an oven.

In Conclusion

Needhams are a delightful treat that embodies the rich culinary heritage of Maine. With their sweet coconut filling and luscious chocolate coating, they are a dessert lover’s dream. Whether you’re enjoying them at a family gathering or making them at home, Needhams are sure to bring a smile to your face. So, why not give them a try and experience the magic of Needhams for yourself?

Needhams compressed image1


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Prep Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 25 minutes
Course Desserts
Cuisine American
Servings 40


  • 1 box (1 pound) of powdered sugar (approximately 4 cups)
  • 1/2 cup of smooth , plain mashed potatoes
  • 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter
  • 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 bag (14 ounces) of sweetened shredded coconut
  • 2 pounds of high-quality semisweet or bittersweet chocolate , chopped
  • 3 tablespoons of vegetable shortening


  • Place confectioners' sugar in a heatproof bowl, creating a well in the center.
  • Add mashed potatoes, butter, vanilla, and salt to the well.
  • Set the bowl over simmering water and stir the ingredients, gradually incorporating the sugar, until dissolved and a smooth paste forms (approximately 5 minutes).
  • Remove the bowl from heat and mix in the coconut.
  • Transfer the mixture to the freezer and chill until firm (around 20 minutes).
  • Roll tablespoonfuls of the potato mixture into balls and flatten each ball into a small square using your fingers (yielding approximately 40 squares).
  • Place the squares on a plate or baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap, and freeze until firm (approximately 20 minutes).
  • Line a baking sheet with foil (shiny-side up).
  • Microwave the chocolate in 30-second intervals, stirring until melted.
  • Stir vigorously, adding shortening, until glossy (about 2 minutes).
  • Transfer half of the chocolate to a glass liquid measuring cup.
  • Dip each candy square on a fork into the melted chocolate, allowing excess to drip back into the cup.
  • Place the coated squares on the prepared baking sheet.
  • Repeat the process with the remaining squares, refilling the cup with melted chocolate as necessary.
  • Let the candies harden at room temperature for approximately 1 hour.
  • Finally, photograph the candies.
Keyword Candy Recipes and Ideas, Chocolate, dessert, Easy, Easy Dessert Recipes, gluten free, Low Sodium, Potato, Vegetable
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Hi, I am April & Welcome to my food blog!

Thank you for visiting my blog. We share delicious recipes to make your meals nourishing and fun. Experimenting in the kitchen and cooking is my joy!


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