I was on Facebook late one night, probably working on my farm, when an instant chat box popped up from one of my fellow Scottish bloggers, Marie. We often have a chat when we are on at the same time.
Marie blogs over at You'll Have Had Your Tea and runs a wee cafe called the Green Apple Apple Cafe in West Linton, just outside Edinburgh. She posts her daily menus on facebook and they always make me salivate.
Anyway, during this particular chat Marie said she had just finished baking for her 10 year old, who was to dress up in World War II clothes for school the next day and bring along a treat from the time. After speaking to her mum, she settled on making macaroon bars. After our chat, I was desperate to make some too. I have thought about making macaroon bars from time to time, but never got around to actually making any. Marie gave me a rough idea of the recipe, but I took note of quantities as I made mine, so I would know next time. Some of you may be surprised when you discover what the main ingredient is.
I shaped my macaroons into balls instead of bars and renamed them Scottish Macaroon Snowballs, which is quite apt for our weather. Heavy, heavy, deep snow.
Scottish Macaroon Snowballs
1 large potato (150g approx)
4 ½ cups icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
200g good quality dark chocolate
1 ½ cups dessicated coconut
1. Peel your potato and cut it into quarters, then boil until soft. Mash until smooth and then spoon into a large mixing bowl. Leave to cool.
2. Pour in your icing sugar a spoonful at a time, stirring with a spatula. The mixture will be quite wet and gloopy at first, but eventually it will form a smooth dough. Towards the end, as the dough gets stiffer, it is easier to work with a wooden spoon.
3. Once your dough is ready, wrap it in clingfilm and pop it in the fridge for half an hour.
4. Prepare a couple of baking trays, by covering them in greaseproof paper, then tear of small balls of the macaroon dough and roll into smooth balls. Once you have finished, pop the trays full of macaroon in the fridge, while you move onto the next step.
5. Pour half of your desiccated coconut into a ovenproof dish. I covered my dish with greaseproof paper, so the coconut would be easy to remove.
6. Toast the coconut under the grill, shaking occasionally until it is golden. Do be careful as it burns easily. I then mixed some of my toasted coconut with some plain, so I ended up with three bowls of coconut in varying colours. One plain, one mixed and one toasted. However it is entirely up to you. The original bars are coated in toasted coconut.
7. Next, break your chocolate into pieces and melt in a bain marie.
8. Take your macaroon balls out of the fridge and set up a little production line. First dip your macaroons in melted chocolate, then roll them in coconut before placing them back on the baking tray. I advise using one hand to dip the balls in chocolate and the other to coat in coconut or you are likely to get into a right mess. Have some kitchen paper at the ready too and baby wipes are very handy at this point.
9. Once all your macaroons are coated, pop the trays back into the fridge to allow the balls to set.
Serves: I made 33 balls from my dough, but amounts will vary according to size.