A few weeks ago one of my friends at work asked me to make special macarons for her engagement party. I agreed without hesitation. I love making macarons, and love to experiment with new colors, flavors, etc. The only challenge was that they needed to match her wedding colors! She requested hot pink, orange, and lime green. All I had to go by was a set of photographs showing the exact colors she wanted, which I was expected to match precisely.
I always make macarons that are very subtly colored, most times to coordinate with the filling. This was the first time I ever had to make deeply and vibrantly colored macarons. So to make a long story short, trying to match the color of a macaron to a specific, pre-determined color is no easy task! If you’ve ever made macarons and added food coloring to them you already know that they always end up being much lighter in color after they are baked. I ended up making the macaron shells for each color twice. The first time they were way too light in color. These macarons needed a lot of food coloring! In the past I’ve used liquid, powder, and gel food coloring to make macarons, and the one I like most is gel. It’s easier to get the hue that you are going for. Another thing to consider is when to put in your coloring. Some people add it to the egg whites and others to the water that is used to make the sugar syrup. I like to make my macaron batter and not work it until the point that it is ready to be piped. Then I set about 2 tablespoons of it a side in a small container. I then mix the color into it, knowing that it has to be a concentrated version of the color I want to end up with. This little bit of batter is then folded into the uncolored macaron batter which is then folded/worked to the proper consistency. I’m curious to know if you have another method of coloring your macarons, do leave a comment if you are successful with another method/type of food coloring.
So these are the amounts that I ended up using to get the right colors:
Hot pink: 1 ounce red + 1 ounce pink
Orange: 1 ounce orange + 1 ounce yellow
Lime green: 1 ounce leaf green
The hot pink macarons had Nutella filling, the orange macarons had orange blossom filling, and the lime green macarons had vanilla bean filling.
While I was mixing colors for the macarons, I kept thinking about dyeing Easter eggs when I was a little kid. And how most times I could not get them the exact color I wanted them to be. So I’m posting these as ‘Easter’ macarons. And in keeping with the Easter theme, I served them over fun colored candy!
One little tip, when you plan on using large quantities of red make sure you buy ‘no flavor red.’ Otherwise your macarons will have an aftertaste to them. Also keep in mind that some people are allergic/intolerant to yellow #5 which contains tartrazine. Wilton offers an all natural yellow color (daffodil yellow) as an alternative, but it is not as vibrant as golden yellow or lemon yellow. I’ve also seen all natural food coloring at Whole Foods, but have not tried them yet.
You can find a detailed recipe with pictures for macaron shells in my post here.