Firecracker (Pop Rocks) Macarons

3…2…1…

Cue the 4th of July themed foods.

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I’m going to go ahead and jump on the bandwagon with my red (or maybe pink), white, and blue macarons filled with a vanilla buttercream and pop rocks.

I was patting myself on the back for being such a freakin’ genius for putting pop rocks and Independence Day together…until I had to go to 5 different stores to salvage one teeny packet of green pop rocks. Am I seriously the last one to know pop rocks is like a holiday candy?? DSC_0034

Even so, I’m still really happy with how these turned out. I do recommend using more red food coloring than I did (so you get red and not pink), and maybe red or blue pop rocks. Other than that, follow this recipe carefully and I’m almost certain you’ll have successful 4th of July themed macarons.

I say successful because macarons are known to be very temperamental. I remember trying to make them at home way back when I didn’t even know what meringue was. I didn’t even have a stand mixer, which probably would have saved me hours in the kitchen. I know there are countless blogs out there with endless FAQ and macaron troubleshooting. Trust me, I’ve probably been to all of them.DSC_0041

Today, I’m going to make this short and sweet. In order to have successful macarons, I strongly suggest you follow the instructions carefully and please do not cut corners! I know not all of you will have a stand mixer or a calibrated oven, but these things are necessary to make macarons – unless you really know what you are doing. Even with that, I cannot guarantee success due numerous factors that may interfere with your cookies. But together, we will try our best, and hopefully succeed.DSC_0047

First thing first, we are making these macarons using the Italian method. This means we will be making Italian meringue to make the cookies. Italian meringue boils the sugar into a syrup and is slowly poured into the whipped egg whites. This produces a very stable meringue, which I believe is the key to first time macaron bakers. The problem with the french method is that the meringue is not as stable, so you have to first be able to make a meringue correctly, and then fold it into the dry ingredients just enough so that you deflate the air bubbles in the batter to the right consistency. Like I said, if you don’t really know what you’re doing, this is very hard to get right.

Second, make sure you oven is calibrated. This means you need to go get an oven thermometer to check and see if you oven really heats to what it’s set to. Temperature is key because you want it hot enough for the insides of the cookies to rise to the shells, but not too hot where it browns the cookies. I see so many bakers end up with hollow macarons because their oven is not hot enough. The insides don’t rise enough to meet the top and end up falling back down.

Third, make sure you DRY the shells before baking them. This gives the cookies a sturdy exterior, keeping them from cracking. Having the dry shell will also give your cookies a direction to rise (from the inside out the bottom) giving you the oh-so-famous macaron feet, and no hollows.

For this recipe, I included the amount of Italian meringue needed for the Italian buttercream used for the filling. Since you don’t use as much buttercream for macarons as you would for a cake, I thought it would just be easier to include a small batch in one process. Both the cookies and the buttercream have less sugar in them compared to others you will find online. Since we will be filling them with candy, I didn’t want the macarons to be overly sweet.

Firecracker Macarons

Firecracker Macarons

Ingredients

For: 15 macarons
Preparation:
40 min
Cooking:
10 min
Ready in:
50 min

Instructions

  1. Start by adding about 1/2 inch of water to a pot. There is no exact amount since you just need enough water to moisten the sugar. The water will eventually evaporate.
  2. Next add the corn syrup, then the sugar. Make sure the sugar is poured to the center of the pot so that there are no dry sugar particles on the sides of the pot. If some sugar gets on the sides of the pot, brush down with water.
  3. Clip on candy thermometer and boil on high. You will be boiling the syrup to 121°C/250°F.
  4. Whisk your egg whites until foamy, and keep it from deflating by keeping your mixer on medium low until the syrup reaches temperature.
  5. As soon as you syrup reaches 121°C/250°F, turn the mixer back on high. Slowly pour in the syrup right where the egg whites meet the bowl.
  6. Once all the syrup is poured in, let the mixer go on high for about 1 minutes, and then turn down to medium speed until slightly warm.
  7. Mix the sifted almond flour and powdered sugar together.
  8. Split the flour mixture into three bowls, weighing 100g each.
  9. Add 20g of whites into each bowl (total of 60g)
  10. Add red food coloring to one bowl, and blue food coloring to another bowl. Mix all three bowls well. It helps to use a rubber spatula and smoosh the dry into the egg whites to get them mixed well.
  11. Scale 58g of meringue into each of the three bowls. Fold individually until incorporated. (Save the dirty mixer bowl for the buttercream).
  12. Wrap each color of meringue batter in plastic, twisting the ends forming a bag.
  13. Using a large round piping tip, place the three bags into a piping bag. Pull one end from each of the bags through the tip. It takes a bit of effort, but getting all three colors at the tip will give you more shells with the three colors.
  14. Cut the ends that have been pulled through the tip, and slightly pull the 3 bags from the top so that it is no longer sticking out of the tip.
  15. Pipe into 1.5 inch rounds, 1.5 inches apart.
  16. As soon as you are done piping, take a toothpick and pop all the bubbles. Do not go back and keep popping as they start drying out. The bubbles will keep appearing, but you don't want craters in your macarons if they are too dry to smooth out.
  17. Let dry until the batter is no longer shiny and can be touched without sticking to the finger. The time will vary depending on your location and humidity.
  18. Preheat your oven to 325°F. As soon as it's heated, bake your macarons for about 10 minutes. To check if they are done, try pushing the top of the shell. If it slides, it needs more time. If they don't move, they are done. It is always better to over bake than under bake the macarons. If you under bake them, they will be hollow. Over baking will cause hard and crispy macarons, but that can be fixed in the "maturing" stage.
  19. Once the shells are cool, spread a thin layer of buttercream on each shell to "mature." This will allow some moisture to distribute along the shell to produce the right texture. Mature overnight, or up to 3 days. It may take longer that 1 day to mature if the shells are over baked.
  20. You should have about 176g of meringue leftover for the buttercream. Add the room temperature butter and whisk. It might start looking like it's broken (grainy) but it will come together. Once it's fluffy, store in an airtight container in the fridge. Whisk again before using.
  21. Assemble by piping a buttercream flower on the inside of a macaron shell (I used a 10mm round tip).
  22. Pour some pop rocks into the center and lightly press on the top shell to stick.
  23. Keep tightly wrapped in the fridge for up to 3 days. Bring to room temperature before serving.

Notes

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