Watermelon Macarons

by elyn_ryn

I learned to make macarons by trial and error. The first time I made a batch, I lost several shells because I didn’t know how to pull them off the cookie sheet. Some were hollow inside, others had cracks, and some were hard like vanilla wafers instead of chewy like perfect macarons. I think I experienced every possible problem the first time I baked macarons–and in several batches after that. One time when I mixed macarons, I even left out half of the dry ingredients because I was so intent on mixing the batter correctly! Since then, I have found better recipes and learned from experience.

Baking Tips

Using a Baking Mat

Here are some tips for baking macarons on a baking mat.

  • Use a silicone nonstick baking mat such as a Silpat or another equivalent brand that you can find at discount home goods stores or online. Some baking mats have circles printed on them, and some have indentions for macaron making. Macarons do not stick to these mats, they are washable, and you can use them for years. They come in different sizes to fit several sizes of baking sheets. This is my favorite way to bake macarons.
  • To correctly pipe macarons on a mat, it is essential to hold the piping bag perpendicular to the baking mat. This means to point the end of the piping bag to the ceiling as you squeeze out the batter onto the silicone mat. This will make perfectly round macarons. If you hold the bag at an angle, the macarons will be odd shapes.
  • If there are no macaron indentations or circles printed on your baking mat, try to pipe them all the same size. Then after they bake, you can match similar-sized shells together and fill them with buttercream, and no one will notice the different sizes.
This baking sheet has three flat sides making it easy to slide underneath the parchment paper filled with macarons.

Using Parchment Paper

Here are tips for baking macarons on parchment paper.

  • As an alternative to a baking mat, use parchment paper on top of a baking sheet. 
  • Draw circles on the paper. One way to help guide the size of the macarons is to draw circles on the parchment paper. Use a 1 1/2-inch round cup or another round object and draw around it, making sure to space out the drawn circles to allow the macrons to spread when you tap them on the countertop to settle them. Place the parchment paper onto the baking sheet with the drawing side facing down against the baking sheet. (This prevents pencil lead or ink from cooking into your macarons.) You will be able to see the circles through the paper. Hold the piping bag perpendicular to the parchment paper to make round cookies. 
  • Most recipes make more than one sheet of cookie shells, so you will theoretically need more than one baking pan. However, this is the reason parchment paper is a good choice. If you have at least one flat, rimless baking sheet, you can use additional sheets of parchment paper and pipe batter onto all of the sheets at one time. Just keep each parchment sheet on a flat countertop. Then slide a rimless baking sheet under the parchment paper when a batch of cookies is ready to bake. After the cookies come out of the oven, cool them for a few minutes so that the pan is not hot. Slide the parchment paper off the pan. Then slide the flat pan under another sheet of parchment paper with cookies and bake.

Using Other Cooking Surfaces

  • I do not recommend using a greased cooking sheet because the shells will not release from the baking sheet. You need a mat or paper so you can pick it up and peel the cooked cookie shells off.
  • Do not use wax paper or greased aluminum foil for macarons. Use one of my recommended methods because macarons are too much trouble to risk ruining them!

What to Do After the Macarons are Piped

  • Once you pipe the macarons onto the baking mat or parchment paper, immediately tap the pan onto the countertop a few times to settle the macarons. If you are making several sheets of macaron shells, tap them as soon as you fill one mat or parchment sheet and before you start another one. If the cookie shells sit too long, they start drying and will not settle if you tap them later. This can cause a rough finish instead of the shiny, smooth finish that macarons are known for.
  • After piping and tapping the shells, let them sit until they dry on top. They are ready when they do not stick to your finger when you touch them. Depending on the humidity, they may dry in 10 minutes, or it can take an hour. Drying the cookie shells forms a skin on top. This helps to prevent cracking when they bake.

Baking the Shells

  • Macarons do not take long to cook. Keep an eye on them because you do not want them brown at all, or they will lose their pretty color.
  • After baking, cool the macarons completely by letting them sit. Do not try to pull them up if they are warm, or they will not release from the baking surface. Once they are completely cool, they are easy to remove. One trick I use is to pick up the edge of the baking mat (or parchment paper) and pull the paper or mat away from the macaron shell as I gently hold the shell with two fingers. Pull the baking mat away one cookie shell at a time because they are fragile. Also, take your time when you remove them.

Storing Macarons

Macarons have a short shelf life and will dry out in just a few days. The best way to keep them fresh is to separate the ones you want to eat right away and freeze all the others. If frozen, they will keep their fresh taste for a few months without altering the texture. One of my favorite ways to enjoy a macaron is to eat it partially thawed because it is chewy, which is the hallmark of a delicious macaron!

Print Recipe
Watermelon Macarons
Green macarons with pink watermelon-flavored buttercream filling
Votes: 1
Rating: 5
You:
Rate this recipe!
Prep Time 50 minutes
Cook Time 14 minutes
Passive Time 30 minutes
Servings
Ingredients
Buttercream Filling
Prep Time 50 minutes
Cook Time 14 minutes
Passive Time 30 minutes
Servings
Ingredients
Buttercream Filling
Votes: 1
Rating: 5
You:
Rate this recipe!
Instructions
Buttercream Filling
  1. Use an electric mixer to beat the butter until fluffy. Add the cream and watermelon flavoring and beat until well mixed. Start with 1/2 teaspoon of flavoring and taste. If you like a stronger watermelon taste after tasting, add another 1/2 teaspoon of flavoring.
  2. Add the powdered sugar, one cup at a time, beating after each addition until smooth. If the frosting is too stiff, add more cream. If too soft, add a little more sugar.
  3. To color the frosting, add a few drops of pink gel coloring, one drop of red, and one drop of yellow to make a watermelon color. Beat the frosting to combine all the colors and mix well. If the color is not dark enough, repeat adding drops of gel coloring until the desired color is reached.
  4. Snip off the end of the piping bag and add the star tip to it. Add the frosting to the bag. To half of the cookie shells, pipe small stars on them. Then gently place the remaining cookie shells on top of the frosted cookie shells.
  5. Keep the macarons in an airtight container. You can store the macarons in the refrigerator for about 1 week or a freezer for 2-3 months. They dry out quickly so do not leave them stored on the countertop longer than 24 hours.
Recipe Notes

To Make Pink Macarons with Green Filling

  • If you want to make pink shells with green filling, add pink, red, and yellow coloring to the macaron batter.  Start by adding a few drops of pink, 1 drop of red, and 1 drop of yellow gel coloring.  Repeat adding the coloring drops until the desired color is reached.
  • To make the filling green, add a few drops of green gel food coloring to the buttercream after it is made.  Beat it with a mixer to mix the color well.

Tips

Filling a Piping Bag with Batter

  • Place the pointed end (with round metal tip) of a piping bag into a very tall cup.  Fold the top of the bag down over the sides of the cup so that the bag is secured for filling it with batter.
  • If you do not have a metal tip for piping the batter, you can still use a piping bag. First, do not snip off the end of the piping bag. Place the piping bag over a cup and fill it. Once the bag is full of batter and you have secured the top, cut off the end of the bag and start piping.
  • If you don't have either a piping bag or tip, try using a one-gallon size zipper plastic bag.  After you fill the bag, snip off one corner of the bag and pipe the batter through the hole onto a baking mat.  Always start with a small hole and then snip off more of the corner if needed.

Filling a Piping Bag with Buttercream

  • Use the cup method (above note) for filling a bag with buttercream.
  • Use a star tip to give the buttercream ridges and a star appearance which you can see from the sides of the finished macarons.

Yield

This recipe makes about 50 macaron sandwich cookies.

 

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