Karen’s birthday is coming up and she has given me (Mr LG) the keys to the Kingdom or at any rate the password to The Lemon Grove Cake Diaries blog. I offered to make her something sweet for her birthday and she suggested that I might as well do a blog about it – so here it is.
I thought I would make a recipe that is very Scottish: macaroons. Now don’t get all fancy French on me, these are not the subtle little almondy biscuits those beautifully coifed Parisians delicately nibble on with their other worldly, to die for, hot chocolate as they while away a morning of people watching in Les Deux Magots in the Latin Quarter or some other fine café in Paris (whew, take a breath!). No, these macaroons are knock you down, take no prisoners, teeth rotting hits of sugary badness! They are the epitome of bad ass confectionery where too much sugar is never enough! If you can’t stand the sugar get out Mr LG’s kitchen! You have been warned 🙂
Now before we progress you’re probably thinking “do I really want to make a food recipe from Scotland?” (how rude of you). The answer is simple: yes, you do. Why? Because despite its reputation (not unjustified when you consider all the deep fried food: pizzas, haggis, mars bars – not joking) Scotland has some great natural produce and when used well it can be sublime and no I’m not actually talking about haggis, but as you brought it up a well made haggis is mana from heaven – yes really (rude again) – but that’s a story for another blog if I ever get back into ‘The Grove’ after this effort.
So the macaroon. It’s a potato based (yes, potatoes, don’t let that put you off) sweet treat covered in chocolate and toasted coconut. It’s a very popular confection in Scotland and is made by a company called Lee, although I don’t believe they actually use potato any more.
I decided to go “into the lab” and try and add a little difference to the originals. As you will see below, I split the original mix into three: the first I kept plain, but with the other two I have added ingredients. With one batch I have added Baileys Irish Cream as this is a favourite of Karens (I would have used Heather Cream which is a liqueur made from Scottish whisky, but I had none available). To the last batch I added raspberries. These are a very popular berry in Scotland and I thought that the tartness of the berry might balance out the sugar overload, at least a little bit.
- 300g (11oz) of potatoes
- 1200g (43oz) of icing mixture (yes, a lot). This may be known as Icing Sugar where you live.
- 400g (14oz) of dark chocolate
- 300g (11oz) desiccated or shredded coconut
- Baileys Irish Cream or Heather Cream to taste (optional)
- Frozen raspberries (optional). If you choose to add raspberries you will require extra icing mixture.
Note: these quantities may vary depending on how starchy your potatoes are. You will need to play around until you get the required consistency – all good fun.
- Peel and boil your potatoes until just soft, then mash (do not add salt, milk or butter)
- Gradually add the Icing Mixture to the mashed potato. If you are using Icing Sugar you may need to sieve it to ensure that it does not form clumps.
- Once the mixture becomes like a firm dough it should be cut to size or rolled into small sausage shaped bars or whatever shape you like. As it is VERY sweet you may want to make your portions small. Another option is to use a cookie cutter to make interesting shapes, however don’t make them too small or you might loose the shape once they are covered in chocolate and coconut.
- Optional Step: If you are making different flavours then split your mixture into the required number. In my case, I split it into three equal portions and then added the Baileys to one and the raspberries to another. I then kneaded the mixtures until the new ingredients were fully mixed. I had to add quite a lot more icing mixture to the raspberry one as the raspberries add more moisture to the mixture.
- Now you will need to leave the dough mixture to dry out for a while. I stuck mine in the fridge for half an hour. You will just need to experiment with the time to get it right.
- Toast half your coconut. You can do this by heating carefully in a frying pan or on a low heat in the oven. Using a blow torch is not recommended, however much fun it might seem!
- Put a pan of water on to boil. Once the water is boiling turn off the heat. Place the chocolate into a heat proof bowl and place above the boiled water. Stir until the chocolate melts.
- Dip your pieces of macaroon into the melted chocolate and then immediately roll them in the coconut (1/2 browned and 1/2 au naturel). I rolled some in shredded coconut and some in desiccated coconut.
- Leave the macaroons to set. I put mine in the fridge to set.
- For the love of God, and your teeth, eat them sparingly!
You can freeze the Macaroons if you like.
If I make macaroons again I think I would cut the recipe by a third and I would make each piece much smaller. A little macaroon goes a long way.
Although the taste of the raspberry macaroons was fine I think on another occasion I would use Chambord (raspberry liqueur). With the frozen raspberries the mixture softened quite quickly once it was out the fridge.
The other two versions worked well and Karen’s favourite was the one infused with Baileys – no surprise there then :).
Well that’s all folks I now need to go for a very very long bike ride and work off some of this excess sugar. If these are just too sweet for you to contemplate then feast your eyes on this baby Highland cow – just the right amount of sweetness :).
I got this photo from: http://imgur.com/iudfqsZ