Cupcakes are sooooo out. Donuts have had their moment (though they’ll always be the star in my world). And mini pies are done-for. Everyone’s all about the macaron. And I couldn’t.be.happier.
After visiting Bouchon Bakery last year in NYC, I tried a macaron for the first time and fell in love. They’re crispy, chewy, and sweet but not cloyingly so. I love the variety of flavors and the gorgeous pastel colors that make them *almost* too pretty to eat. They’re definitely a pinky-up food to consume, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. It makes eating them special.
And making them? Also special… in that way you describe something painful and terrible to be ‘special.’ They definitely are a labor of love and while I think they’re worth every minute spent sifting almond flour and getting work-related carpal tunnel, most people don’t. So thankfully I have found a recipe that is easy and less laborious than most.
My recipe doesn’t require aging egg whites (a process which confuses me, much like the concept of getting a ‘base tan’ or why Justin Beiber is famous), and it doesn’t require a bunch of babying (yay!). Simple — not so much, but as easy as you’ll get.
And these macarons are cotton candy flavored, which makes them infinitely cooler. I don’t know about you, but I love cotton candy-flavored anything! It’s sweet and reminds me of summer nights walking around the fair grounds under the twinkling rainbow lights of arcade games and thrill rides. And aren’t the colors adorable?! Kids and adults alike will love these delicious, unexpected macarons 🙂
So, let’s get to baking!!
*adapted from my Cap’n Crunch Macarons tutorial
- 2 & ⅓ cups powdered sugar
- 7 ounces almond flour
- 2 pkts Duncan Hines Cotton Candy Frosting Creations
- 4 egg whites
- ⅓ cup white sugar
- FOR FILLING:
- 1 stick butter
- 2 Tbsp heavy cream
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- Pink food coloring
- Sprinkles (pink sugar and blue crystal sugar)
- Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
- Using your kitchen scale, weigh the almond meal until your scale reads 7 ounces exactly.
- In a large bowl, combine the powdered sugar, ONE packet of the cotton candy flavoring, and the almond meal. Spoon a cup or so of the mixture into a handheld sifter and sift the mixture over another separate bowl. Continue spooning and sifting the mixture. Eventually, you'll be left with what I call 'pebbles'--small particles of the mixture that are too coarse to grind up. Leave the pebbles until last, then mix whatever pebbles are leftover into the sifted mixture. I've found that sifting is essential as it removes the grittiness from the macarons. However, the pebbles only add a little texture and in my opinion, do NOT make the macarons gritty or grainy.
- Next, add a couple inches of water into a large saucepan and place the pan on medium-high heat. Once the water begins to simmer, drop the temperature to medium-low so it maintains a steady, slow simmer.
- Using a glass, heatproof bowl (I used the glass bowl of my KitchenAid stand mixer), place the bowl over the simmering water, taking care to make sure the bowl does not touch the water underneath and does not fit into the bowl (the heat will seal the two together, so make sure your bowl is larger than the pot's mouth!!) Working quickly, add the egg whites and sugar to the bowl. Begin whisking the mixture feverishly until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is frothy and pale yellow in color. Remove the bowl carefully from the heat.
- Either attach your bowl to your stand mixer or pour the egg white mixture into a stand mixer bowl and, on high speed using the whisk attachment, begin whipping the egg whites. This takes about a minute or two. Egg whites are done when they are light & fluffy with shiny, stiff peaks. TIP: if you drop your whisk attachment into the bowl and yank it back out, if the egg whites in the bowl remain spiky and stand straight up, it's perfect. If they kind of start to keel and fall, you may need to whip just a little more. Whip in the REMAINING packet of the cotton candy flavoring.
- Next, gently fold the sifted dry mixture into the egg whites. I like adding half of the dry mix first to incorporate, then adding the rest. Make sure you fold in the dry mix that sits at the bottom of the bowl as well. The mixture will look kinda gross looking-- that's okay. As long as it is thick, goopy and combined -- no dry particles-- it's good. Spoon the mixture into a piping bag attached with a frosting tip -- I like Atecco 807 which is a large open circle tip. You could also spoon the mixture into a Ziploc baggy, seal the air out, and snip off a corner of the baggy.
- Hold the frosting tip just barely off of the sheet and begin piping, counting to four as you pipe. I found that counting to four equals the perfect size for me-- just slightly larger than an American quarter. If you want your macarons more round or larger, continue piping. Gently and quickly lift your wrist, flicking it slightly, to stop the flow of macaron batter. You may have a "hump" on top of your macaron. You can let it sink back into the batter slightly with time, smooth it out gently with your finger or an offset spatula, or flick your wrist quicker to prevent the hump in the first place. Sprinkle the tops with the coarse blue crystal sugar.
- Once the macarons have been piped on, allow them to sit on your stove top for about 10-15 minutes. This will help them get their shape prepped and help sink those humps back in if need be. After sitting, bake the macarons ONE SHEET AT A TIME for approx. 11-12 minutes per sheet. Macarons are done when they look like they have dull tops. Do not over bake. Remove the macarons from the oven and allow them to cool completely on the sheets before gently peeling away the parchment.
- To make the filling, in a bowl with a stand mixer affixed with a paddle attachment, beat together the butter, cream and vanilla until creamy. Gradually add the powdered sugar until frosting is light and fluffy. Tint frosting pink with the food coloring.
- Pipe the frosting onto the flat side of a macaron; sandwich with another macaron. Roll the edges of the frosting into the pink sugar and serve!
I LOVE how fun and bright these adorable, petite cookies look! They definitely would be amazing on a summer party dessert buffet table, especially if you sat them on top of a bed of fluffy cotton candy. While there are a lot of steps, the macarons are pretty straightforward to make — feel free to use this TUTORIAL I wrote up awhile back, with step-by-step pictures. But whatever you do, make these! They’re super amazing, have a great texture, look gorgeous, and are definite crowd-pleasers.
Have a fantastical day!!