The grown up version of a classic pucker candy. These slightly crisp, soft and chewy macarons utilize a mixture of citric acid and sugar for the classic sour flavor you get from candies. The tops of the shells are coated in this sour sugar mixture and then filled with a sweet watermelon flavored buttercream. Instead of using watermelon extract, the filling is made with a packet of Koolaid watermelon mix. Get ready to pucker with these highly addicting macarons!
Tips and Tricks for Making Macarons
Macarons are highly known in the baking world as being the hardest, most technical bake one could ever attempt. And while this could be true in some cases, its not the case here! After years of perfecting macarons and the technique that makes them here are my top tips for making macarons, and be sure to check out this post on my full guide on How to Make Macarons:
It's all about the right tools
I've come to learnt that you can sometimes get around not having the exact tools when it comes to baking, but unfortunately when it comes to macarons your tools will make your break your success!
- Rubber spatula- this is a big one...if you think you can get away with making macaron batter with anything other than a rubber spatula, it will not work. Anything other than a rubber spatula will not be able to fold it in the gentle manner that it needs!
- you can buy a rubber spatula pretty much anywhere! Target, Walmart, Amazon, and even some larger grocery stores carry them.
- Reusable piping bags- piping bags are not only a super smart investment when you love to bake, but they also make piping so easy. They're incredibly easy to fill and even easier to wash. They last pretty much forever if you take care of them and they can be used for so many different projects.
- Stand mixer- you absolutely need a stand mixer to make macarons effortlessly and seamlessly. The stand mixer is used for whipping the egg whites into a fluffy stiff meringue. This meringue needs to be beaten for some time, and using a hand mixer can get tiring with having to hold it! It's also much easier to control the speed which is important for establishing a stable meringue.
Set yourself up for success
- Pre-measure every single ingredient you will be using before even starting the process! This includes any coloring, toppings, or sprinkles you will be using for the shells pre-bake.
- Set up every piece of equipment you will be using like your sheet pans, parchment paper or silicone baking mats, piping bags, and any bowls.
- it's even more helpful if you place the proper equipment near where you're going to use it!
- for example, place your piping bag fitting with its tip near the baking tray which is where you will pipe your shells.
Being as prepared as possible will allow you to only be focused on making the macaron batter, and not looking for that baking tray you misplaced!
Macaron batter is extremely time sensitive, it waits for NO ONE. And trust me when I tell you that even just a few minutes can make or break your batter!
Don't make these mistakes!
Here are some common mistakes that seem harmless, but can ultimately affect the outcome of your macarons:
- Making macarons when it's raining
- The most important part of the macarons is the meringue. The one thing a meringue does not like is excess moisture! Baking macarons on a humid day will result in wet shells that don't form a skin or bake right.
- Doing dishes or running the dishwasher while making the batter
- Again, this one support the fact that macarons and meringue do not like excess moisture! If you are running the hot water in the sink or having steam come out of your dishwasher, it could ultimately affect your batter.
- Not shaking your food coloring before using it
- When food coloring sits for a bit, it begins to separate with the water coming to the top of the bottle and the coloring sinking to the bottom. It's very similar to nail polish, you should always shake your bottle to re-emulsify the contents before using it!
Making the Watermelon Flavored Buttercream
This watermelon buttercream is made with a secret ingredient...watermelon koolaid!
If you're wondering why the koolaid and why not watermelon extract? Watermelon extract or any other very specific extract flavor can be extremely difficult and expensive to source. For example, you can find vanilla, coconut, or almond extract at almost every single grocery store, but you definitely can not find watermelon.
The fun thing about using the koolaid is its essentially the exact same thing as an extract, but in powder form and you can find it anywhere! You only need to buy 1-2 packets at the grocery store and I can get 3 for $1 at my store!
Bringing that sour flavor to the macarons
Now I'm sure you're wondering, how the heck are these macarons sour?
Let me introduce you to a bakers secret weapon...citric acid.
What is citric acid?
Citric acid is a food safe compound derived from lemon juice or other citrus fruits. If you look on the back of any sour candy package, you'll find citric acid somewhere on the list!
Citric acid is completely safe to consume, as long as the packaging says food grade.
For these macarons, we mix the citric acid with regular sugar, and coat each of the shells in the mixture.
Where to source citric acid
Citric acid can be found in a few different places:
- Online on Amazon
- Natural Food Stores
- Beauty Supply and Health Stores
- ie. Vitamin Shoppe
The only key word you need to look out for when sourcing citric acid is that it is food grade quality, which means it is a safe quality to consume!
Other must try macaron recipes:
- Cookies and Cream Macarons
- Samoa Cookie Macarons
- Banana Cream Pie Macarons
- Malted Dark Chocolate Macarons
Sour Watermelon Macarons
- 124 grams powdered sugar about 1 ¼ cup
- 140 grams almond meal about 1 ⅔ cup
- 110 grams sugar about ½ cup
- 107 grams egg whites, room temperature about 3 large eggs
- ¼ tsp cream of tartar
- 1 drop super red gel food coloring, Americolor
Sour Sugar Mixture
- ⅛ cup citric acid
- ⅛ cup sugar
- small bowl of water
- 12 tbsp soft butter
- 1 ½ cups powdered sugar
- 1 packet watermelon koolaid, about 1 ½ tsp
- In a medium bowl, scale the 140g almond meal and 124g powdered sugar. Sift both of them into a larger bowl and discard any large pieces. Set aside.
- In a stand mixing bowl, add the 107g room temperature egg whites and begin whisking on medium speed (speed 3-4) for 1-2 minutes. When the whites get foamy, add the cream of tartar.
- Very slowly, begin adding the 110g sugar by the spoonful, sprinkling it into the whites as they whip. When all of the sugar is added increase the speed to medium high (speed 5-6). Whip for about 5-6 minutes then stop the mixer and add the drop of red food coloring. Continue mixing on medium high for 1-2 minutes more, or until stiff peaks form.
- Add the whipped egg whites to a large bowl.
- Add ⅓ of the almond meal/sugar mixture to the whites. Fold very gently with a spatula until combined. Then add the next ⅓ and fold to combine. Continue until all of the dry ingredients are incorporated.
- Using your rubber spatula, scrape the batter against the side of the bowl. Every few scrapes, pick up the batter and let it fall into the bowl. The batter should flow slowly in ribbons. Try to make a figure 8 with the batter. If it falls without breaking, its ready!
- Line an upside down pan with parchment paper or silicone baking mat and fill a piping bag and round tip with the batter. Pipe directly over the top of the parchment. When the pan is full, rap and drop the pan on the counter to release any air bubbles. You can use a tooth pick to pop any bubbles that come to the surface.
- Preheat your oven to 300. (If your oven in on the hotter side, lower temperature might be better ie: 275-285)
- Allow the macarons to sit out to dry and form a skin. This can take anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour depending on the level of humidity in your house. They are ready to bake when the shell can be touched without it sticking to your finger or leaving an impression.
- Bake each tray for about 13-14 minutes. The macarons are done baking when you gently touch the top of the shell, it should just barely budge from the foot. Allow to cool completely before filling!
Making the Watermelon Buttercream
- In a stand mixing bowl, add the 12 tbsp of soft butter and mix with the paddle on medium (speed 3-4) for 1-2 minutes or until the butter is smooth and lump free.
- Stop the mixer and add the powdered sugar ½ cup at a time, mixing on low (speed 1-2) until each addition is combined before adding more. Continue adding the sugar until it is all combined.
- Turn the mixer speed up to medium high (speed 5-6) and beat the buttercream for 2-3 minutes or until its very light and fluffy.
- Stop the mixer and add the watermelon koolaid powder. Mix on low until combined for 1-2 minutes more or until its completely combined into the buttercream.
Assembling the Macarons
- In a small bowl, combine the citric acid and sugar and mix to combine. Set aside
- Match up the macaron shells in pairs and lay they out onto your surface. Face one shell of each pair up so that the bottom is facing up, but keep the other shell with the top facing up.
- Using a pastry brush, dip it in a small bowl of water just to barely get the brush damp. Lightly brush the top of one shell in each pair and then dip it into the sour sugar mixture. Gently press it into the sugar so that it sticks to the top. Continue until every pair of macarons has one shell that is dipped into the sour sugar mixture.
- Fill a piping bag fitted with a small round tip with the watermelon buttercream. Pipe a dollop of buttercream onto each shell that is bottom facing up. Once all the shells have buttercream, take the top of the shell and place it on the buttercream to sandwich it together.
- Place the finished macarons in an airtight container and place them in the fridge overnight for the best taste and texture. Enjoy the next day! The macarons will stay fresh for 3-4 days if kept in the fridge and only taken out when ready to be enjoyed.