A simple Scottish recipe for a traditional homemade sweet treat with a surprise ingredient. These are a tasty coconut treat covered in chocolate and more coconut.

Scottish Macaroon Snowballs on a pink plate stand standing on a snow covered garden table

Wartime Treats

I was on Facebook late one night, when an instant chat box popped up from one of my fellow Scottish bloggers, Marie, we often have a live chat.

Marie blogs over at You'll Have Had Your Tea.

During this particular chat Marie said she had just finished baking for her 10 year old who was doing a school project on World War II.

She had to dress up for school the next day and bring along a wartime treat. They decided to make macaroon bars.

Now I was desperate to make some too.

Macaroon Bars

I've thought about making macaroon bars from time to time, but never got around to making any.

Marie gave me a rough idea of the recipe, but I just winged it, then took note of quantities as I made mine, so I could share them with you.

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.

What are Scottish macaroons

Macaroons are a traditional homebaked sweet (candy). They are coconut based and very sweet. 

French macarons in a clear bag with red ribbonDo not confuse these with french macarons (mack-a-ron), which are a sweet meringue based sandwich of two little discs sandwiched with ganache, jam or buttercream.

Do not confuse these with coconut macaroon cookies, which are coconut cookies dipped in chocolate.

Scottish macaroon bars (or in this case balls) are coconut bars with a sweet fondant type melt in your mouth centre, which are completely dipped in chocolate then coconut.

They are awesome! But don't eat too much at once!

The history of Scottish macaroon bars

Scottish macaroon bars were created during the second world war. A time of food shortages and ration books, where people had to be very frugal with their ingredient and clever to make their rations go a long way.

Creativity is the name of the game.

This recipe is very creative. You would never in a hundred years guess the secret ingredient after tasting them.

The secret ingredient is MASHED POTATO.

Yes you heard me right, mashed potato. You would never know it when you taste them, they taste like a sweet coconut fondant, but that secret recipe was there.

These bars were made in homes across the land during the war and also commercially made my Lees.

You can still find these homemade bars along with bars of tablet sold beside the till at many a corner shop or newsagent in Scotland.

Scottish macarons on a lined baking tray

Making Scottish Macaroon Snowballs

You can make these Scottish macaroons as bars or balls. The balls are easier to make the first time you make them, but if you are feeling brave, do try making bars.

Making Scottish Macaroon Snowballs Step 1 - making the mixture

Step 1 - Making the macaroon snowballs

Mash your cold boiled potatoes with vanilla extract then add the icing sugar (confectioners sugar) a bit at a time, mixing in with a spatula until you have a thick dough. 

You may need to move from a spatula to a wooden spoon when the mixture gets stiffer.
Once all the icing sugar is folded in, roll the mixture into balls the size of chocolate truffles.

While you are making the dough, toast some coconut on a baking tray in the oven until golden.

Making Scottish Macaroon Snowballs Step 2 - making the snowballs

Step 2 - Coating the macaroon snowballs

Melt dark or milk chocolate in a bain marie (bowl over simmering water - do not let the base of the bowl touch the water or the chocolate will seize).

Set up a little work station so you can move from dipping into chocolate, then onto dipping into the coconut and a lined tray for the snowballs to set.

I had one bowl with desiccated coconut, one bowl with toasted desiccated coconut and one bowl with a mixture of both.

Making Scottish Macaroon Snowballs Step 3 - The finished snowballs

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A simple Scottish recipe for a traditional homemade sweet treat with a surprise ingredient. This coconut based snack is easy to make and kids love them. #scottishmacaroons #macaroons #truffles #scottishrecipes #vegantruffles #coconuttruffles

Macaroons, macaroon bars, Scottish macaroons, coconut macaroons, Scottish sweets, Scottish candy, coconut truffles, Scottish recipes
Scottish, vegan, vegetarian
Yield: 32-34 balls

Scottish Macaroon Snowballs

Scottish Macaroon Snowballs

A simple Scottish recipe for a traditional homemade sweet treat with a surprise ingredient. These are a tasty coconut treat covered in chocolate and more coconut.
prep time: 30 Mcook time: total time: 30 M


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


How to cook Scottish Macaroon Snowballs

  1. Mash the potatoes until smooth and then spoon into a large mixing bowl. Leave to cool.
  2. Add the 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.


I have not added chill time to the recipe time, but do chill the mixture.

You may also shape the mixture in a baking tin, chill and cut into bars before dipping in melted chocolate and then coconut.
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