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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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Comments (34)

I hope you don’t consider this suggestion sacrilegious, but would it work to make these using powdered mashed potatoes? Especially the US kind that don’t already have some sort of butter substitute mixed in (as opposed to the UK ones where all you add is water). Has anyone tried this already?

Hello Graham,
I have never tried it with powdered mashed potatoes so have no idea, I’m afraid – especially as I don’t live in the USA either. If you do try them with the recipe, then please keep me posted how it goes!

Well, I’m making it today your way first, then I’ll experiment and see if there’s a way to do it with instant potatoes next. btw since you don’t live in the USA, I’ll elaborate on the instant food thing over here… In the UK, instant potato is sort of like batchelor food – we just want it as fast and easy as possible, all you do is all hot water. There’s even a variety that comes in little hard balls rather than powder just to reduce the effort of fluffing it up with a fork! Whereas in the USA, housewives are embarrassed to use instant foods and almost everything that could be instant has some sort of added preparation detail that you have to do, to show that you’re not completely lazy and made some effort. At least, that’s the only rationale I can come up with for why they include a separate pouch of ‘butter’ (who knows what it really is) with the mashed potatoes, or why you have to add real eggs to cake mixes rather than have them include powdered egg in the mix like the UK ones. Or why jelly for making desserts comes as a powder that you have to reconstitute with water rather than as a thick lump of concentrated jelly as in the UK. It happens so often it’s hard to see it being anything but deliberate.

Hey I’m going to make these for my Aussie family for Christmas as my own little Scottish contribution as I’m spending it here with them!
A quick question maybe I’m totally missing it but when do you add the 1tsp of Vanilla extract ? I’m guessing when combining potato and icing sugar ?

Oh, that’s wonderful! I’m honoured that these will be part of your Aussie-Scottish family Christmas, Danielle. Oops, yes I indeed forgot to mention the vanilla at the potato and icing sugar part. Thank you. It’s now updated. Have a delicious holiday together.

Hi i am making these today from AUSTRALIA for my Scottish fiance

How lovely is that? Congratulations on your engagement to a Scot and cheers to many Scottish snowballs!


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