Scottish Macaroons are a classic here in the world of sweet treats. I’ve added mint to mine to make them even more special. Step away from the calorie counter and enjoy some sweetness Scottish style!
Scottish Macaroons, a naughty little treat full of sugar and a rather unexpected ingredient – the 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.
They have also had a starring role on Kirstie’s Handmade Christmas TV show. I made them for my Auld Alliance Christmas hamper when I was a finalist. The judges just loved these macaroons!
Here is a post about Kirstie’s Handmade Christmas TV show, it was so much fun.
Scottish macaroons are a completely different species from the French macaron.
The French confection is based on a meringue mix and ground almonds and resembles two little colourful cookies sandwiched with a flavoured creamy filling.
Whereas 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.
Not macaroons either!
These aren’t the classic coconut macaroons either. Sometimes people just call coconut macaroons, well macaroons. This all gets so confusing!
Ingredients for Scottish macaroons;
There are only 4 ingredients for these macaroons
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.
No, 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.
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.
Alternative Scottish macaroon flavours
As for flavouring, plain is perfect but mint or almond are good choices for added punch.
How to make Scottish macaroons
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.
Add the mint extract (optional) and bring your macaroon mixture together into a firm dough I promise this works. I’ve made these countless times on stage and they always come together even though it looks kind of dodgy to start!
Pull off little pieces and roll into balls and pop these into the fridge to firm up.
Melt the chocolate in a bain marie (bowl over simmering water – make sure water not touching the bowl though) or in a microwave if you have one.
Dip the chilled macaroon balls into the chocolate then straight into the coconut.
Voila! you now have Scottish macaroons.
Traditional Scottish macaroon bars
Traditionally Scottish macaroons are made in a flat bar shape like a bar of chocolate.
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.
How to serve macaroons
Just a couple of these with a cup of espresso will set you up for anything.
Wrap them as a gorgeous little foodie gift for Christmas or any time.
How long will macaroons keep?
These Scottish macaroons will keep for up to 2 weeks in an airtight container. You can freeze them too. Just pop them into a freezer-proof bag and they are good in the freezer for up to 3 months. Defrost well.
Looking for more sweet treat ideas? Then check these out before you go;
You will find this recipe and 50 more in my new Naughty And Nice Edible Gifts For Christmas eBbook.
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- 30 g/1 1/4 oz desiccated coconut
- 1/2 tbsp cooled mashed potato no seasoning, milk, butter etc
- 1 tsp peppermint extract optional
- 100 g/3 1/2 oz icing sugar
- 100 g/3 1/2 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) until 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 aside 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 each chilled 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 about 2 weeks in a sealed container