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.

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.

For more Scottish recipes have a look at my recipe index of Scottish Recipes for Vegans and Vegetarians

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.
Created using The Recipes Generator


  1. Perfect recipe for the snowy weather. And boiled potatoes? Now, that is unusual indeed; thanks for sharing Jacqueline :-)

  2. It is one of those wartime recipes where they had to do with what they had and potatoes and carrots featured a lot in sweet recipes. I don't think they added the vanilla though.

  3. I love your blog. I make a variation of this by adding mint to the mixture ( one could add lemon or any other flavoring )and rolling it out between 2 pieces of waxed paper until it is very thin. I melt baking chocolate unsweetened and spread it on 1 side. When it is dry, I flip it and spread chocolate on the other side. I can then cut this in squares or other designs. Here in New England it is simply called Potato Candy, an old time recipe, beloved, but little known. It is always a hit.

  4. Those are great tips Ruth, I am so glad you stopped by. I didn't know the recipe had reached beyond Scotland. Love the idea of mint or lemon :)

  5. Yes I was surprised to find the main ingredient was potato. I have seen recipes for potato candy before so I know it would be delicious.

  6. Hi Val, It is a strange one, but you would never know it was in there :)

  7. Very interesting indeed. Boiled potatoes+chocolate... I should give it a try and see how it goes. Thanks for sharing... the weather getting worst I guess... and this is what we need ;-)

  8. You are quite right - I would never have guessed these had the humble spud in them. They look great, I'm going to have to give this a try and see if anybody can guess the ingredients!

  9. Hi Mummy Nana, I hope you are having better weather than us, it is horrible here.

    No one will guess Chele, you just can't tell :)

  10. yummy yummy! very talented baker you are!

  11. Potatoes? Who wudda thunk it? These look so pretty, you'd never guess there was a potato hiding inside!

  12. I know and they are great. The texture is silky and gorgeous Andrea :)

  13. A potato!!! I wouldn't have guessed in a thousand years!!!

    They look devine - we need a bit of sweetness in this weather (well any excuse actually!!)

  14. I know Brownieville Girl, I am craving something sweet just now, Unfortunately, I have given all the macaroons away. *sigh*

  15. Potatoes? Crazy. Like the look of the macaroon balls.

  16. If you use a red-fleshed potato as I did one year without realizing it, you have a rosy hued version. You can add grated candied ginger too or put it on top of the potato candy or roll the little snowballs in it.

  17. Fab idea, I'll have to give them a shot. Do you know how long they are likely to keep for?

    Thanks, Annie

  18. I call this an awesome, innovative and very unusual treat! Simply love it, and the fact that it is done with potato, makes it more interesting.
    Shall surely make and post it in my site with due credits to you Jacqueline. Lovely post, keep rocking. best wishes.

  19. Try making them TB, I bet your class would love to try them!

    Hey Ruth, Yeah, I was thinking the other day when I was buying sweet potatoes that they would make pretty macaroons.

    Hi Annie, they will keep nicely in the fridge or somewhere cool for a week.

    I am glad you are so taken with them Sanjeeta. I look forward to reading your post :)

  20. beautiful - E loves macaroons so maybe I should try them - I love sweet recipes with potato so this might be fun to make - and great for St Andrews Day

  21. Interesting recipe. I have tried potato cake long time ago, and it was amazing..
    I have some good recipes with chestnuts and dry fruits on my blog

  22. What a great recipe, dear Jacqueline!!

    MMMMM,..festive balls & I love the name you named them with!

    Lovely food!

  23. Well I don't know how I managed to miss this one the first time around - potato truffles - very interesting. You didn't actually say how they tasted??

  24. Wow I'm so intrigued by the use of potato!! I've never seen anything like this. They look delicious. :)

  25. My potatos are boiling for it now, little xmas day treats. Was looking for a recipe for macaroons as I knew it and this was the first right one I found so thank you so much x

  26. I am so glad you found my recipe. I do hope you enjoy them x

  27. You forgot to mention, you must chill the potatoes before adding the icing sugar or it will be a soupy mess and a waste of a bag of icing sugar.
    4 1/2 cups icing sugar for 1 large mashed potato ?

    1. Haha, you are so right. I thought it was obvious, but yes, sometimes you have to state the obvious. And yes, it takes up a lot of icing sugar. I measured it out.

  28. Yeah I know, DUH! Lol!
    Not like mom's but close to it and still working on perfecting it, it's sooooo sweeeeeeet.
    thanks Jacqueline !

    1. How do your mom's vary? Yes, they are sweet. I made the changes you suggested.

      Have a good Christmas :)

  29. As a Scot, I certainly remember those macaroon bars, with coconut, chocolate and yes, the potato in there - which I only quite recently discovered - as so many people get macaroon bars, macaroons and macarons mixed up. Just came across your recipe today for these - they are just what I'm looking for! Thank you, thank you. Love the toasted coconut, just like the real McCoy.

    1. People do indeed get them mixed up and they have nothing in common. I hope you enjoy them, but remember how sweet they are and don't eat too many.

  30. Got my Brownie cooking badge for making these around 1970 in Scotland. They are delicious!

    1. You have a great memory. I can't remember what I made on brownies. I remember running about a lot, occasionally camp fires and some songs. That's it. But these are a treat.


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