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Inspired by the traditional Scottish Macaroon Bar, enjoy bite-sized mini snow balls of this sweet treat, made of sugar, toasted coconut, chocolate – and potato! Not to be confused with the Parisian macaron or the coconut macaroon, this is the Scottish real McCoy but made into balls rather than bars.

bite-sized fondant macaroons in glass dish one bitten

Scottish Macaroons, French Macaroons & Parisian Macarons

Normally, I talk about Parisian macarons, as I wrote two recipe books on them (hence the blog title, Mad About Macarons!). Moreover, I have a recipe for French Macaroons in my 2nd book, Teatime in Paris. The Parisian macaron basically contains ground almonds, icing/powdered sugar and egg whites. Macaroons consist of the same but contain coconut instead of ground almonds. Both are gluten free.

This time we’re talking about a macaroon made with potato, so let’s roll our sleeves up as this will be messy. As I personally find them particularly sweet, we’re converting traditional Scottish Macaroon Bars into these Scottish Macaroon Bar Snow Balls!  They are not just gluten free but vegan too!

To avoid any confusion between the three of them, and to discover more about the nationality of a macaron or macaroon, read my article What’s the Difference Between a Macaron and a Macaroon?

advent calendar bags for macarons

What could be in the bags? Macarons, macaroons or Scottish macaroon bar snow balls?

The advent calendar is up, filled with riddles and surprises; I didn’t think that Lucie would still want it this year but it’s a challenge each year for me to make each filled bag more thought-provoking. However, I could just fill up each one with mini bite-sized balls, inspired by the classic Scottish macaroon bar.

Lee's orginal macaroon bar

The Scottish Macaroon Bar


Times like this evoke childhood memories, don’t they? Take teatime. Do you have an afternoon treat that rekindles a warm, sweet blast from the past? As a Scottish lass, there are a couple of sweet treats that can still instantly conjure up an instant glow: Tunnock’s teacakes and a Lee’s macaroon bar. I say the macaroon bar in the singular, since it’s so densely sweet that one rectangular bar is more than enough!

The original Macaroon Bar is made with a hard fondant centre of mainly icing (powdered) sugar and mashed potato (yes, you heard me right), which is coated in a mix of chocolate and toasted coconut.

The Macaroon Bar in Scotland was originally manufactured in Glasgow by Lee’s in 1931 and they still make them today. It’s a classic.  I even see they’re sold on Amazon.co.uk for homesick Scots!

The other day I wanted to prepare some British treats for the Lycée International’s school Christmas Fête, west of Paris. Since I was already on a roll with these vegan no-bake chocolate-coconut snowballs, making mini snow ball versions of a Scottish Macaroon Bar make them a little less naughty with all that sugar!

homemade Scottish Macaroon Bar Snowballs packaging

 

How to Make Scottish Macaroon Bar Snow Balls

SEE THE FULL PRINTABLE RECIPE CARD BELOW.

Inspired by Jacqueline’s blog at TinnedTomatoes.com.  I’ve found that the amount of sugar will vary, depending on how dry your potato is (the drier the potato the better, Russett, Maris Piper – I use Bintje in France).  You may need more or less but the fondant should be thick and quite difficult to stir at the end, when it’s just right and ready to roll. They may be packed with sugar but they’re gluten free!
Update December 2017: My friend, Christina Conte also has a recipe for Macaroon Bars – but at the time of writing I hadn’t discovered her yet!

Makes approx. 36 macaroon balls

Peel the potato and cut it into quarters, then boil until soft.  Rinse off the extra starch in cold water.  Mash until smooth in a large mixing bowl and leave to cool completely.

mashing potato to make sweet macaroon bar treats

2. Using a wooden spoon, add the vanilla extract (or powder) then a few spoonfuls of icing sugar at a time, stirring well to mix.  Don’t worry: the mix will be runny and rather unappetising at first but eventually, as you add more and more icing sugar, it will thicken.

mixing mashed potato with icing-powdered sugar

3. The sugar-potato fondant will be ready as soon as it’s difficult to worth with: it will be stiff and difficult to stir.
(Not the case? Add more icing sugar.)  At that point, cover it in cling-film or plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

How to make Scottish macaroon bar lees snowballs

4. Cover two baking trays with baking parchment/greaseproof paper or a Silpat mat.  Tear small balls of the macaroon fondant and roll into smooth balls the size of a one pound coin (I find it easier washing hands every 10 balls, as it can get rather sticky!)  Once all the balls are prepared, chill them directly on the trays in the fridge (update: I made mine in the winter when my kitchen was cool – you may need to put yours in the freezer).

5. Pour half of the desiccated/shredded coconut onto a non-stick baking tray and toast under a hot grill for a couple of minutes.  Keep your eye on it, as it burns far too easily!  Mix the plain coconut with the toasted batch.

toasted and plain shredded coconut

6. Break the chocolate into bits and melt over a pan of simmering water (bain-marie).  Leave to cool slightly for about 5 minutes.

7. This is when fun and messy fingers take over the kitchen: dip each macaroon fondant into the melted chocolate (I started using a cocktail stick then gave up – too long!), then immediately roll each in the coconut then place back on the baking tray.  Ideally use separate hands for each.

8. Place the baking trays with the coated macaroon snowballs in the fridge to set.

The macaroon bar snowballs can keep in a tin or airtight container in a cool, dry place for 7-10 days.  There’s no need to keep them chilled in the fridge.

Like macarons, they’re gluten free but these are also vegan.

round coconut covered chocolate snowballs
Love bite-sized festive treats?
Then try these chocolate, coconut & raisin snow balls too.

 

Scottish Macaroon Bar Snowballs

bite-sized fondant macaroons in glass dish one bitten
5 from 1 vote

Scottish Mini Macaroon Snowballs

Author: Jill Colonna
Prep Time40 mins
Chilling time1 hr
Total Time1 hr 40 mins
Course : Dessert, Snack
Cuisine : Scottish
Keyword : snowballs, scottish macaroon
Servings : 36 snowballs

Description

Inspired by the traditional Scottish Macaroon Bar, enjoy bite-sized mini balls of this sweet treat, made of sugar, toasted coconut, chocolate - and potato!

Ingredients

  • 1 potato (about 120g/4oz) dry potato (Russett, Maris Piper, Bintje)
  • 460 g (1lb) icing sugar (powdered) more or less
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 200 g (7oz) dark chocolate at least 64% cocoa solids
  • 200 g (7oz) finely shredded coconut

Instructions

  • Peel the potato and cut it into quarters, then boil until soft.  Rinse off the extra starch in cold water.  Mash until smooth in a large mixing bowl and leave to cool completely.
  • Using a wooden spoon, add the vanilla extract (or powder) then a few spoonfuls of icing sugar at a time, stirring well to mix.  Don't worry: the mix will be runny and rather unappetising at first but eventually, as you add more and more icing sugar, it will thicken.
  • The sugar-potato fondant will be ready as soon as it’s difficult to worth with: it will be stiff and difficult to stir.(Not the case? Add more icing sugar.)  At that point, cover it in cling-film or plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
  • Cover two baking trays with baking parchment/greaseproof paper or a silicone mat.  Tear small balls of the macaroon fondant and roll into smooth balls the size of a one pound coin (I find it easier washing hands every 10 balls, as it can get rather sticky!)
    Once all the balls are prepared, chill them directly on the trays in the fridge (I make mine in winter when my kitchen is cool – you may need to put yours in the freezer).
  • Pour half of the desiccated/shredded coconut onto a non-stick baking tray and toast under a hot grill for a couple of minutes.  Keep your eye on it, as it burns easily!  Mix the plain coconut with the toasted batch.
  • Break the chocolate into bits and melt over a pan of simmering water (bain-marie).  Leave to cool slightly for about 5 minutes.
  • This is when fun and messy fingers take over the kitchen: dip each macaroon fondant into the melted chocolate (I started using a cocktail stick then gave up – too long!), then immediately roll each in the coconut then place back on the baking tray.  Ideally use separate hands for each.
  • Place the baking trays with the coated macaroon snowballs in the fridge to set.

Notes

The macaroon bar snowballs can keep in a tin or airtight container in a cool, dry place for 7-10 days.  There’s no need to keep them chilled in the fridge.
Not to be confused with the Parisian Macaron or the coconut macaroon, made with egg whites, coconut and sugar.
See my article, What's the Difference Between a Macaron and a Macaroon?

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From the kitchen

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Comments (34)

These macaroon treats remind me of long ago when we did eat a whole Lees macaroon bar in one go. What a great idea to make mini macs.

They’re fun – and minus the other ‘extra’ ingredients at the bottom of the pack’s list! Vive homemade 😉

These are both pretty and intriguing! I know that adding mashed potatoes to breads, brownies and cakes makes them moister so this adding it to candy is fascinating and makes me want to try them. Plus anything with chocolate and coconut! I think this is a really pretty and nice change from the usual holiday chocolate truffle.

You’d love them, Jamie, and yes, they are different! They are pretty sweet which means that a couple are just enough with a cuppa.

I finally stopped setting up the advent calendar full of chocolates about 2 years ago! Oh, boy, those macaroons are done up right. What a terrific holiday bonbon. They are so cute all packaged up…too bad I’m not close enough to beg for my own little bag 🙂

Only 2 years ago? Too funny, Liz.