These Scottish macaroon bars are a great traditional treat! A soft, fondant center covered in dark chocolate and coated with desiccated coconut, with no baking required!
You won’t believe me when I tell you what the main ingredient for these Scottish macaroon bars is!
Are you ready…?
It’s mashed potato!
A lot of the time, Scottish macaroon bars tend to get confused with Italian macaroons and/or French macarons. But I can assure you that they are 3 very different things- they just have very similar names. So confusing!
I have no idea which Scottish person came up with idea of making candy bars out of potatoes back in the day. But I’m going to go ahead and assume they were a complete genius.
And I’m 99% sure it was a beautiful accident… because the best recipes always are!
The potato makes a perfect texture for the fondant in the center but the flavor is so subtle that you can’t taste it.
Want More Scottish Dessert Recipes? Try These:
I had originally planned to make these bars in time for Burns Night (which was on the 25th January) to include in a “vegan Scottish desserts” post. But classic me… I didn’t get them done in time.
Obviously though, you can enjoy these babies on any day of the year, not just on Burns Night… LOL. I’ve been snacking on macaroon bars for the last 3 days.
They are seriously addictive!
There are just 4 main ingredients for this recipe: potatoes, powdered sugar, chocolate and desiccated coconut. You can also add a little vanilla if you’re feeling fancy!
Vegan Scottish Macaroon Bars
The great thing about Scottish macaroon bars is that they’re naturally gluten-free and SO easy to veganize. By using dark chocolate (or any other kind of dairy-free chocolate), these become completely vegan!
Which is great because it’s SO sad to see “milk” listed on the ingredients list of every single pre-packaged macaroon bar in the stores!
I’m also pretty sure they use eggs instead of mashed potato now to enhance the shelf life, so they’re not really the “classic” bars anyway.
I brought some for my colleagues to taste and they said that the dark chocolate was actually a great contrast to the super sweet center.
Be warned that this dessert is NOT meant to be eaten in large quantities. You just can’t- it’s too sweet and rich! And that’s coming from the sugar QUEEN herself!
I did originally shape mine into large bars, but they ended up being way too bulky, so I cut them up into bite-sized pieces after they were completely set.
It works much better this way and saves you from eating too much at once! Plus, they look super cute in smaller portions!
How to make Scottish macaroon bars
First off, you’ll need some white potato (or potatoes, depending on the size of them). I had small potatoes, so I used 2. I weighed them at 140 grams (or 5 ounces) before washing or peeling.
Now give the potatoes a good wash and boil them with the skin on (in unsalted water) until they are soft and tender.
Drain and rinse them and leave them to cool.
Once the potatoes have cooled down, peel them using a potato peeler. You should also be able to just use your fingers if you like because the skin will come off super easily.
Mash the potatoes well until there are little to no lumps left. I used a fork for this step but you can also use a food processor if you want to make sure they’re extra smooth.
Note that my potatoes weren’t COMPLETELY lump free but this didn’t affect the taste or texture of the finished product. Just try to get them as smooth as you possibly can but don’t stress about micro lumps.
Measure out 480 grams (4 cups) of powdered sugar.
Add around ¼ of it into the potato mixture and give it a good stir. At this point, the mixture will become soft and runny.
Add 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract (if you’re using it) and mix in well.
Now add the rest of the powdered sugar, a quarter at a time and continue to stir. Once all the powdered sugar is added, the mixture should’ve gone from runny to super stiff.
Transfer the stiff fondant mixture into a freezer-proof dish lined with baking paper and spread it out evenly as best as you can.
Place in the freezer for 2 hours.
Remove the fondant from the freezer and from the dish, peeling off the baking paper gently.
Cut it into small bite-sized squares or shape bars using your hands. Alternatively, you can shape them into small balls. You should get around 20 bite-sized bars out of the mixture.
Place the bars onto a lined baking tray, spread them out evenly and freeze for another 1 hour.
*Note that the fondant will still be a bit sticky so try to work as quickly as you can.
In the meantime, measure out 180 grams (2 cups) of unsweetened desiccated coconut.
Place half of it into a dry frying pan over a medium-high heat and stir continuously until it turns golden brown. It’s important that you keep stirring otherwise the coconut will burn.
You can also place it on a lined baking tray and bake it in the oven at 160°C / 320°F. This will take around 12 minutes and you’ll need to stir it a few times in between to keep it evenly brown.
Mix the toasted coconut together with the untoasted coconut and set aside for now.
After the hour is up, melt 250 grams of chocolate (around 9oz). You can do this in the microwave like I did or over the stove top- whatever you prefer.
I like to use a 60% or above dark chocolate (this one is my fave) because I find it’s much easier to work with and lasts longer before it starts setting again. There are so many delicious options out there now!
When the chocolate is melted, remove the bars or balls from the freezer. Dip each one into the chocolate then roll it in the coconut.
This part gets VERY messy so you’ll need to wash your hands in between each one.
Place the coated bars onto a cooling rack with a lined baking tray underneath and put them in the fridge for 1-2 hours, or until until the chocolate is completely hard.
Now you can enjoy your finished Scottish macaroon bars!
*Note that they become softer at room temperature, so it’s best to store them in the fridge in an airtight container. They’ll last for at least 1 week this way.
I hope you enjoy this recipe! What do you think about using mashed potatoes in a dessert? Make sure to leave a comment and/or review if you make them yourself- I’d love to hear from you!
A traditional Scottish candy recipe made with mashed potatoes!
- 5 oz White potatoes (140g)
- 4 Cups Powdered sugar (480g)
- 1 Teaspoon Vanilla extract (optional)
- 9 oz Chocolate of choice (250g)
- 2 Cups Desiccated coconut (180g)
Wash the potato and boil (unpeeled) until it's soft enough to cut through with a fork. Leave to cool completely.
Peel the potato and mash it in a large bowl until there are little to no lumps left.
Add around ¼ of the powdered sugar and mix well. At this point, you should have a soft and runny mixture.
If you're using vanilla, add it in now and stir.
Continue adding in the powdered sugar, mixing a little at a time, until it's all used up. The mixture should go from runny to super stiff.
Transfer the mixture into a freezer-proof dish lined with baking paper and smooth out to the sides. Freeze for 2 hours.
After 2 hours is up, remove the mixture from the dish and peel off the baking paper.
Cut the mixture into small bars or shape rectangles using your hands. This mixture will be enough for around 20 bite-sized bars. (I did originally make larger bars but found them too be too much to eat at once as they are super sweet)
Place the bars onto a lined baking tray and return them to the freezer for 1 more hour.
In the meantime, place half of the desiccated coconut into a dry frying pan over a medium-high heat. Stir continuously until it becomes golden brown.*
Mix the toasted coconut in with the untoasted coconut.
Just before the bars are ready to come out of the freezer, melt the chocolate in a bowl.
Dip each bar into the melted chocolate and immediately roll it in the coconut. Place it to set on a wire rack (with a lined baking tray underneath to catch any mess).
Once all the bars are coated, put them in the fridge for 1-2 hours or until the chocolate is completely set.
- *Alternatively, place the coconut onto a lined baking tray and bake for 12 minutes at 320F/160C, stirring a few times in between.
- Store in the fridge in an airtight container for 1 week.