Easter (or Engagement) Macarons: achieving the right color

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.

I submitted this post to April’s Mac Attack challenge. This month’s challenge was to make macarons inpired by a holiday in April. Check out the round up on April 15th here!

Author: onevanillabean

I have loved cooking and baking since I was 5 years old. It was the one activity that I would share with all my extended family. Like most people, I love traveling. I love visiting the markets, exploring unknown ingredients, and bringing them back home with me for inspiration. I find that recipes with simple and pure ingredients yield the best results.

28 thoughts

  1. Your macaron shells’ shape and pied are perfect. Absolutely beautiful …I enjoyed your post about how you achieved those brilliant vibrant colors. I too tried gel coloring, but it turned out way too light.

    Next time I make macarons, I look forward to using your method for coloring. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Wow, what vivid macarons. Well done on getting them so bright! I always end up with slightly anaemic looking macarons because I don’t add enough colouring 😛 I like using gel colours too, and when I do the French version (no sugar syrup), I colour the caster sugar first by rubbing it with the gel colour in a ziplock bag then pushing it through a sieve.

    Glad I found your blog 🙂

  3. Gorgeous macs and beautiful colours! I love how exciting and fun they look. What a great friend and macaron baker you are!
    Thanks for joining Jamie & me at MacTweets Cecilia.

    1. Deeba- Thank you so much for your comment! You are so sweet! I’m so glad I found MacTweets, Jamie and you had a great idea in starting it. I love seeing everyone’s creativity. I have learned so much from everyone’s posts. :O)

  4. Wow..gorgeous colors! I like to add my gel color to the tant pour tant and then let it dry overnight. I add it during the grinding in the food processor ‘phase. so I can control the hue. However, I think I’d like to give the coloring of the egg whites a go round 🙂 Beautiful job!

  5. I have found that by using a lot of food colouring it leaves not a good taste.

    Could you please tell me how to get around this.

    Thank you

  6. Charlie–Typically the problem you describe is caused by red food coloring only. The only way to get around this is to use “no taste” red food coloring. It is available online.

  7. Thanks for this post, Cecilia! I’m doing a bridal shower soon and looking for inspirations. When using food coloring, I go with gel.

  8. color paste are very thick and the colours stand out alot and you only need to add a little bit, however they are quite pricey around 6 dollars for one colour. but the results are great! vibrant in colour without leaving exess liquid in your mixture

  9. Typically I see mac recipes made with powdered food colouring: so pleased that there’s a way to use gel so I can use what’s in my pantry

  10. Are you using all natural paste and powder food colors? I know from experience, the all natural food colors are definitely affected by heat and ph in ingredients. Great webstie, thanks for taking the time to share.

  11. Hi! I came around this blog needing help coloring my macs!! A client requested deep violet, hot pink and a vivid blue!! Do you have any ideas? Dust coloring or gel? Which brand??

  12. I used gel food coloring too, but when I added extra food coloring to get bright colors, my macaroons had no feet! I was disappointed… How do I avoid that.?

  13. Your macs look great!!
    What do you mean by ” I like to make my macaron batter and not work it until the point that it is ready to be piped. ” what do you mean “not work at it”.
    I make frenxh meringues and used quite a lot of Americolor gel just prior to folding in the TPT and found them a little dull. Would love any suggestions. Thank you 🙂

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