Whenever I ask people what recipe they would like to see the most on Baking with Granny, Scottish Macaroons is the one that is requested, more than any other recipe. Always with one stipulation…”the kind made with potato!”
Yes, you read that right…potato! Mashed potato to be exact. And in my experience, I find not overthinking it to be the best option. It works and it’s as simple as that.
Also, before we continue, for the avoidance of doubt; these are Scottish Macaroons (double O). These are not the French or Italian macarons that have exploded in popularity in recent years. Think more Lee’s Macaroon bars – fondant filling, chocolate dipped and covered in coconut. And less Mademoiselle Macaron – little almond meringues, in a myriad of flavours, sandwiched with luxurious fillings.
Ok, with the formalities out of the way, lets talk about what a Macaroon actually is!
Proper Scottish Macaroons are a potato fondant, dipped in chocolate and coated in coconut. The potato part is quite random but as potatoes are mostly water (about 80%, according to my fact-checking Google search), they actually make a pretty perfect fondant base, alongside of tonne of icing sugar. And don’t worry, you won’t actually taste the potato in the finished product!
In terms of potato though, you want to use a good floury potato, such as a Maris Piper, and not a waxy one. The starch of the potato lends itself nicely to the overall texture of your Macaroon, with floury ones being preferable for giving that distinctive “bite”.
I find boiling your potato with the skin on to the be best option. As I say, potatoes are mostly water anyway and the last thing you want is an overly soggy potato; skin on means you’re lowering the risk of that. You also want to make sure you mash your potato well – more so than you’ve ever mashed a potato in your life. If you have a potato ricer, this is the perfect recipe to dig that out for. Stray lumps of potato in the middle of a sweet Macaroon are no ones friend.
I’ve seen some suggestions that this is a good recipe to use up leftover mash potato. Now, I am all for using up leftovers and avoiding food waste but there’s two points I’d like to make in regards to that…
Firstly, who has leftover mash potatoes?! Such a thing doesn’t exist in my house, there’s always room for more mash potato on a plate.
Secondly, I don’t know anyone who doesn’t add a little butter, milk, salt, pepper…to their mash potatoes. With that in mind, I would say that leftover mash potato is better suited to a batch of Tattie Scones than it is to Scottish Macaroons. A freshly mashed, untainted, potato is most definitely favourable here.
One last point on our potatoes here… I have listed ingredient quantities in the recipe but every potato is different. It’s crucial that you keep that in mind when it comes to Macaroons. One potato may have more water content than the next, and as such more sugar will be needed to get the perfect fondant texture, and vice versa. Generally speaking the potato to sugar recipe will be around a 1:4 ratio but you can use more/less icing sugar as needed.
As above, potatoes are what make this recipe what it is! A nice floury potato, such as a Maris Piper is perfect. Just remember to boil with the skin on and mash until completely smooth.
Or “powdered sugar” for our international bakers. You must, must, must use icing sugar over any other sugars in this recipe. The fine texture of icing sugar is what mixes with the potato, to make the perfect fondant. Just be sure to have a little extra to hand too, in case you have a particularly moist potato and need a little bit extra icing sugar to help form the fondant.
You can opt for milk chocolate, if you prefer, however I find dark chocolate is a better choice; partly because the bitterness balances the sweetness of the fondant, but also because it has a lower fat content and sets better, keeping the coconut in place too.
Coconut is what gives Macaroons that distinctive finish. You can use desiccated coconut as is but I prefer to toast half the coconut, giving it that warmer colour, as well as enhancing the flavours and textures too.
- Boil your potato (skin on) until it is tender. Remove the skin and mash the potato until it is smooth, with no lumps. Allow to cool completely.
- Once your mashed potato has cooled completely, add the icing sugar a spoonful at a time, mixing each spoonful before adding the next. The potato mixture will become watery before it thickens again – this is ok!Continue to add and mix the icing sugar until your have a thick, fondant texture. You may need more/less icing sugar, depending on your potato.
- Line a couple of baking sheets with some greaseproof paper. Set aside.
- Take a large teaspoon of your fondant and roll it in your hands to create a small ball. Place onto your lined baking sheet. Repeat with the rest of the fondant.Let the fondant balls sit for a few hours, or overnight; lightly covered with some greaseproof paper. This lets them dry out and harden a little. Alternatively, if you are tight on time, you can place them in the freezer for an hour.
- To prepare the coconut, sprinkle half the desiccated coconut onto a small baking tray. Place this under a warm grill for a few minutes, keeping a close eye that it doesn't burn – you just want it to catch a bit of warmth and colour. Remove the coconut from the grill and mix it with the remaining un-toasted coconut.
- One your fondant balls are ready, melt your chocolate over a bain-marie or in short blasts in a microwave.
- Set yourself up with a production line of fondant balls, melted chocolate and coconut.First, dip your fondant into the chocolate, ensuring it is well coated. Allow the excess to drip off (scooping it out with a fork is good for this).Next, drop it into your coconut, again making sure it is well coated.Then place back onto the lined baking sheet. Repeat with the rest of the fondant balls.
- Pop your coated Macaroons into the fridge to allow the chocolate to set, before enjoying. Macaroons keep well in to a air-tight Tupperware.