Scottish Macaroon Snowballs

































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

Ingredients

1 large potato (150g approx)
4 ½ cups icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
200g good quality dark chocolate
1 ½ cups dessicated coconut


Method

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.


33

Katie's 'Chuck-It-All-In Chutney'




















This recipe is from my latest cookbook acquisition, which is squeezed into the already tight bookcase. It really is a fab book. I was so excited once I opened it. It is so colourful and quirky and overflowing with photos (a must in my book, no pun intended!). The book is Leon 2 and you just have to buy it. You will love it too, I just know you will!

This is the second book by the Leon Restaurant of which there are now nine in total. I can see why they are so popular, their food is scrummy!

They like to cook seasonally and care about using only the highest quality ingredients, which is a good rule of thumb for all of us, although I must say I do fall down on eating seasonally. I do buy seasonally up to a point, then I decide I want to pretend it is Summer and all that will satisfy is some Mediterranean inspired food. I do like to pretend that Winter isn't lasting all of 6 months here in Scotland. It is self-delusional, I know.

I will be trying out a lot of the recipes from this book, but I decided to start of with a chutney. I do like to have chutney to enjoy with a cheese board or pasties over the winter.






Here are a few others to drool over:

* Roast Carrots & Fennel in Parmesan Breadcrumbs
* Raw Masala Carrot Dip
* Tuscan Beans with Sage
* Dalston Sweet Potato Curry
* Caramelized Pear Flambe
* Upside-Down Apple & Cardamom Tart


And now on to my chutney.

Katie's 'Chuck-It-All-In Chutney'

2kg green tomatoes or ripe red tomatoes
450g onions
450g apples
6 plums
2 fresh green chillies
255g raisins or currants, or a mixture
1 level tablespoon salt
450g brown sugar
6 cloves of garlic
a 5cm piece of fresh ginger
2 cinnamon sticks
10 cloves
1.2 litres malt vinegar, or any other vinegar


1. Chop the tomatoes and onions finely. Core the apples and stone the plums, then chop finely (you can leave the skin on the apples). Deseed and chop the chillies.

2. Put all the chopped fruit, vegetables and chillies in a big pan, along with the raisins or currants, salt and sugar. Crush the garlic and add to the pan. Stir well.

3. Wrap the ginger and spices in a muslin square, or an old tea towel, and tie with string, leaving the ends long enough to tie to the pan handle so that the bundle can be removed easily. (Or you can use a 'pickling basket' if you have one.) Add your spice bundle to the pan with the vinegar.

4. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and let the chutney simmer very gently for about 3 hours. Stir occasionally. You'll know the consistency is about right when you can drag a spoon through the mixture and it leaves a trail that doesn't immediately fill up with vinegar.

5. Pour the hot chutney into jars. Cover the chutney with a disc of waxed paper, wax side down, and seal tightly with a lid.

6. Label when cold, and DON'T EAT IT for AT LEAST a month, preferably two. The flavours mellow, and it's much more delicious. It will keep for at least a year, sealed. Once you have opened it, keep it in the fridge.

Makes 6-8 jars depending on the size (I filled 6 x 400g jars and another jar ¾ full)





Disclosure Statement: I received this book free from the publisher to review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.
25

Chocolate Orange Brownies






























I have been meaning to post these fudgey brownies for a while now. They are so very easy and so very quick. This is the perfect recipe for a chocolate fix and when I tell you I got the recipe from Choclette over at the Chocolate Log Blog, you will know just how good they are. That girl really does know her chocolate. If you still need a fix after reading this recipe, you should go over there. You won't be disappointed!
















Chocolate Orange Brownies


100g/1 stick/½ cup butter
100g bar of orange flavoured dark chocolate (I used Lindt's Excellence Orange Intense, which has slivers of almonds in it)
2 large eggs
¾ cup brown sugar
2⁄3 cup plain flour
1 tsp cinnamon
a pinch of salt

Heat oven to 180c/350f/Gas Mark 4.

Melt the chocolate, butter and sugar in a bain marie.

Take of the heat and allow to cool a little, then beat in 2 eggs.

Stir in the flour, cinnamon and salt.

Pour into a lined brownie pan and bake for 12 minutes.

Allow to cool in pan before slicing up and serving.

See! I told you they were easy. How can you resist? I am sure you have all the ingredients in your larder. Go on, have a go, even if you don't have orange flavoured chocolate. You will love them and they will be ready in a flash.

Round of applause for Choclette please!
23

Flapjack Cookies
















 If you are like me and struggle to eat breakfast before you rush out the door to work, then these homemade cookies are just perfect. Porridge in the shape of a cookie.

Keep the dough in the fridge, turn the oven on to heat while you are getting ready, then tear off enough dough for as many cookies as you want and pop them in to cook, while you continue to get organised. 10 minutes later and a few minutes to cool and voila, breakfast on the run.

Not for every breakfast you understand, but great for those rushed mornings.

Flapjack Cookies

 Ingredients

½ cup/115g/1 stick butter, softened
2⁄3 cup demerara sugar
1 large egg
½ tsp vanilla extract
¾ cup plain flour
½ tsp bicarbonate of(baking)soda
½ tsp ground ginger
½ tsp ground cinnamon
pinch of salt
1 ½ cups porridge oats
1 cup raisin
s

Method


  1. Preheat the oven to 350f/180c/gas mark 4.
  2. Cream the butter, brown sugar, egg and vanilla until smooth.
  3. In another bowl mix together the flour, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon and salt.
  4. Gradually add the flour mix into the butter mix.
  5. Next add the oats and raisins.
  6. Bring the dough together into a ball and pop in the fridge for at least 20 minutes. You could leave it overnight if making a morning snack.
  7. Roll into golf ball size pieces and squash slightly when you place them on your lined baking tray. Give them a bit of space to spread.
  8. Bake for about 10 minutes until the edges are starting to turn golden. They will continue crisping up as they cool.
  9. Cool on a wire rack.


Serves (well I would love to tell you that, but I forgot to count them. Whoops!)


You could also try my chocolate and banana cookies which are oaty and chewy like a flapjack.
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