Scottish Macaroons, a naughty little treat full of sugar and a rather unexpected ingredient – potato. These sweeties have been a favourite in Scotland for generations and I made batch after batch of them at Scotland’s Gardening Show in the Spring. I put my recipe for a mint infused version of these Scottish Macaroons in my new Naughty And Nice Edible Gifts For Christmas bookette.
Scottish macaroons are a completely different species from the French macaron. Where the French confection is based on a meringue mix and ground almonds and resembles two little colourful cookies sandwiched with a flavoured creamy filling, the Scottish macaroon is a dense velvety white fondant covered in chocolate and rolled in toasted coconut.
The Lees factory in Scotland started making Scottish macaroon bars commercially in 1931 and they became a firm favourite with children and adults alike. I would never believe my Mum when she first told me that they should traditionally be made using potato (ugh! a sweet made from potatoes!) and she had to make some at home just to prove the point.
You’ll want mashed potato for this recipe, but don’t use leftover mashed potato that you’ve already added butter, milk and seasoning to. You will need plain boiled potato simply mashed with no additions at all as your starting point for this recipe. A good idea is when you are making mashed potato for supper remove a little from the pan before you start adding all your seasonings etc and put this aside in the fridge to make your macaroons next day.
The only other ingredients you’ll need are icing sugar (and rather a lot of it), some good quality dark chocolate to melt and roll the macaroons in and some desiccated coconut for covering. I have also added some mint extract for added flavour as I love the almost iciness of mint with the sweetness of the sugar and the richness of the chocolate. Mmmmm, yum, you can tell I have enjoyed this recipe!
I have used a mixture of half toasted desiccated coconut and half just plain to give a fun speckled effect to my candies. You can either leave yours plain, all toasted or go with a mix like me. The choice is yours but if you are toasting coconut do it in a dry pan and watch it like a hawk, it will literally take less than a minute to start going golden and you must remove it from the heat and the pan immediately or it will continue cooking and burn. Tip it into a plate as soon as it is ready. As for flavouring, plain is perfect but mint or almond are good choices for added punch.
Now a few words of warning here, when you start adding the icing sugar to the mashed potato it will go all horrid and gloopy. It is at this point that cursing, throwing in the proverbial towel and storming out of the kitchen seems like a good option as the damn thing looks like it will never come together. Don’t panic, hang in there and keep adding in more sugar. It will come together beautifully, it just goes through a difficult patch rather like teenagers and then comes good in the end.
Traditionally Scottish macaroons are made in a flat bar shape but to be quite honest I find them so sweet that I like to make them either in little flat round patties or better still in little balls just bigger than a glass marble as I have for this recipe. Just a couple of these with a cup of espresso will set you up for anything.
My bookette Naughthy And Nice Edible Gifts For Christmas is available here, but I only have a few copies left as it sold like the proverbial hot cakes at the Country Living Christmas Fair last week.
- 30g/1¼ oz desiccated coconut
- ½ tbsp cooled mashed potato (no seasoning, milk, butter etc)
- 1 tsp peppermint extract (optional)
- 100g/3½ oz icing sugar
- 100g/3½ oz good quality dark chocolate
- Toast half of the desiccated coconut in a dry pan for less than a minute and mix with the plain coconut, set aside
- Mix the mashed potato with the peppermint extract (if using) unfill well combined
- Start adding the icing sugar to the potato a little at a time. It will turn into a sloppy mess but keep going until you get a firm white paste
- Add some icing sugar to your hands and pluck small pieces off the paste and roll into balls just bigger than marbles, set these adise on a plate in the fridge to set for 1 hour
- Melt the chocolate in a bain marie or bowl set over a pan of simmering water (do not let water touch base of bowl)
- Using a small fondu fork or chocolate dipping tool dip eachchilled ball in the melted chocolate and roll in the coconut mixture
- Set aside in the fridge to set completely.
- These will keep for up to 10 days in a sealed container