Scottish macaroon bars made in Manchester
January 24, 2011 § 1 Comment
My lovely neighbour Deborah (who is married to a Scot), knowing of my interest in all things macaroon introduced me to the Scottish macaroon a couple of weeks ago. To accompany a cup of coffee she brought out a Lees original macaroon bar. This is more a confectionery item than a cake or biscuit – a very sweet fondant centre coated in chocolate and toasted coconut. Apparently this Scottish delicacy was originally made with a sweetened mashed potato (I kid you not…) centre but as this goes off very quickly it’s now made with vegetable fat and sugar.
As its Burns Night tomorrow, I thought I’d have a go at an authentic homemade version, a sweet something to follow our haggis and neeps.
It wasn’t hard to track down a recipe on the web. I consulted these 3 sources:
All the recipes were pretty similar but the third one has the clearest instructions and good pics as well.
I set to work on my unlikely quest to turn a couple of potatoes into a sort of deconstructed bounty bar.
I started with 125g prepared weight of mashed potato – this is just one and a bit medium potatoes – as I discovered, you don’t need much.
I had planned to weigh and document accurately but these ambitions went out of the door when I ran out of icing sugar part way through the process and had to put the project on hold overnight until I could buy some more.
Into the mashed potato I beat an unbelievable quantity of icing sugar – I would guess 375g, maybe even 500g. You just keep going until the mixture is thick and doughy enough to handle.
A very odd thing happened as I started beating in the sugar – the mixture liquefied and became a translucent wallpaper pasty gloop. Never fear, just keep adding more icing sugar and I promise you, it will come together to form a fondant like substance.
Next, I pressed my mixture into a tray and popped it into the freezer for 20 minutes or so to firm up a little.
Meanwhile I toasted quickly in a hot oven 50g or so of dessicated coconut. Beware, the difference between toasted and burnt coconut is about 45 seconds as I learned to my cost. So I began again with another 50g of dessicated coconut…I then mixed the toasted coconut with about twice the quantity of untoasted to produce a lovely tweedy effect – very appropriate for a Scottish sweet.
Next, i melted 2 whole bars (200g) of Green and Black’s chocolate – a mixture of milk and dark. All dark would have been just too restrained and sophisticated. I wanted the full milky sugary hit to complement the toothrotting supersweet centre.
With the mise en place sorted, it was time to complete the bars. I cut my potato fondant into 7 or 8 fingers. I then picked up a finger and shaped it into a sausage before half dipping, half rolling it in the melted chocolate, thence into the toasted coconut (a bit like egg and breadcrumbing a croquette or escalope). As I dipped and coated I held the bar very lightly, shaping and patting as I went. The completed bar was then placed onto silicone paper and popped into the fridge to set.
Here’s one of the little beauties ready to eat – despite inauspicious beginnings, it actually tasted rather good…