April 23rd: International Macaron Day… To celebrate this very important occasion, I share a small collection of ideas using different methods to decorate the shells, or different ways to pipe them. I’ve baked them during the past 12 months or so, most using my default recipe (click here).
FONDANT & ROYAL ICING DECORATIONS
Inspired by this Instagram post, the batter was divided in two colors, light beige (Americolor Cork) and blue (Americolor Sky Blue). Piped them joining two separate small bags inside a larger one, so that the colors would not mix. A little honey was brushed on the beige part, and a mixture of sugar and cinnamon sprinkled to mimic sand. Fondant decorations tied the design.
The overall process is shown in the composite below
Fondant (or modeling chocolate) is an easy way to decorate a simple, solid color shell. In the example below, Vegan Macarons were topped with a sunflower to honor Ukraine. Filled with Pistachio-Lemon buttercream.
Any recipe will work (French, Swiss or Italian). The smoothest the shell, the better, as they will be your little canvas. For these Sakura Macarons, one half of shells were painted with pink luster powder, and dots with gold luster applied for added decoration. Very easy and quite effective. You can do all kinds of color combinations.
Below, solid color shells painted with gold luster + vodka, super simple design, no need to be perfect. Just go with the flow and make some flower shapes.
FOOD PEN DRAWING
Once again, any method that gives you a smooth shell will work for this type of decoration. Use a fine tip food safe pen. Below, Vegan Macarons made with aquafaba and a coffee-coconut milk ganache for the filling. I used some gold luster powder to highlight parts of the design, but that is optional.
Below, a simpler design with just the food pen… These were French meringue (my default recipe) filled with Papaya-Mango Buttercream.
I love this simple method. Once the shells form the skin, use a fondant ball tool to form small indentations on the surface, in any pattern you want. You can then paint, if so desired, or just leave plain as a textural note. Two examples below. For a more detailed explanation, see my first post on this technique (click here).
For this method I prefer either a Swiss or an Italian meringue because it is more stable. Shells are piped in different shapes, like the two below. The main thing to consider is that the shape must be symmetrical, or you need to pipe mirror images so that the two shells can fit together perfectly. In both examples below, the final decoration was a little luster powder in pink, and fine food pen for the facial features.
PIPING WITH DIFFERENT ICING TIPS
For all macarons piped with 1M, 2D or other detailed tips, you will be better off using an Italian meringue and reducing the macaronage to a minimum, so that the batter will hold the design of the piping tip as much as possible. A couple of examples with the 1M tip, my favorite icing tip ever… You can use it to pipe roses or a heart-shaped mac. The base of the macs was piped with a regular round tip so that it is fully flat.
You can use both sides of the shells piped with the 1M tip, for a totally different look in the final macaron… These below were filled with Nutella buttercream.
The 2D tip is also a possibility for piping macs, once again using the Italian meringue and very little macaronage. Another thing to keep in mind is that these shells need to rest longer than normal shells before baking, or they will crack during baking. The macaron in the center was piped with a different tip, but I need to work on that a bit more before I can talk about it. It is a mac-in-progress…
ROYAL ICING DECORATIONS
These can be super simple and effective also. I often have a little Royal icing leftover from sugar cookie decorating, and I just save them for a mac-emergency. Like the three examples below, two coupled with sanding sugar.
I hope these inspired you for future mac-bakes…