HAPPY NATIONAL MACARON DAY!!!! WOOOO HOOOO!!!
It’s national macaron day every March 20th here in the United States. And what better way to celebrate than with some amazingly delicious and unique strawberry pop tart macarons!?!
If you haven’t made macarons before, check out my own first attempt, along with a some helpful tips and a plethora of what-not-to-do‘s.
Macarons are the PERFECT sweet treat. They have a crisp outside when you first bite down. Then the inside of each macaron shell is chewy and rich. And the filling is soft and decadent and sooooo goooood! These pop tart macarons deliver on this mouthful of textures, flavors and magic. And the secret jam in the center is the ultimate gooey surprise!
If you’ve never tried a macaron, I encourage you to give it a whirl! And even better, take a whack at making them at home!
I tried to get as much “pop tart essence” into these macarons as possible. The macaron cookie shells themselves are not flavored with anything extra, so they maintain a nice biscuit-like flavor, like traditional pop tarts. The recipes for the macaron shells and the royal icing decoration are from my favorite bakery YouTube channel, Cupcake Jemma. The filling is swiss meringue buttercream and the recipe I followed for this is from Sally’s Baking Addiction. Swiss meringue buttercream gives the insides a little more of a marshmallow flavor, which I find abundant in pop tarts. There’s a also surprise strawberry jam filling in the center, just like in strawberry pop tarts! And to make it look like the real thing, I topped each macaron with a squiggly blob of royal icing and rainbow sprinkles!
How to Construct these Magnificent Morsels
Step 1: Find pairs for each macaron shell
It’s helpful to match pairs of macaron shells based on their size and shape. Some might of come out a little large or smaller and maybe a little more oval than perfectly round. Match them up with their soulmate so the sandwiches aren’t oozing out filling on one side.
Step 2: Pipe the swiss meringue buttercream filling
I dyed my frosting pink to more match the pink/red fruity center of pop tarts. You don’t have to dye yours, or you can dye it with beets instead of an artificial food dye!
Pipe circles but leave the middle empty for the jammy-jam center!
Step 3: Fill the center with strawberry jam
You can use any find of jam to fill the center, but I used strawberry jam to try and stay as close to the flavor profile and aesthetic of strawberry pop tarts.
Step 4: Press the macarons together to form delicious sandwiches!
Lightly press down on the top of each macaron sandwich. Don’t press too hard or else everything all the goodies inside will smoosh out!
Step 5: Pipe the icing on top of each macaron
Pipe white (i.e. non-colored) royal icing in an irregular squiggly blob shape. This is to add the look and that extra little sweet crunch on top, just like pop tarts!
Step 6: Add rainbow sprinkles
SPRINKLESSS! Throw sprinkles around like kindness!
Strawberry Pop Tart Macarons
- 190 grams finely ground almonds (about 2 cups)
- 205 grams powdered sugar (about 1⅓ cups)
- 144 grams egg whites (about 4 to 5 eggs)
- 190 grams granulated sugar (about 1 cup)
- 60 mL water (about ¼ cup)
Swiss Meringue Buttercream
- 230 grams egg whites (about 6 eggs)
- 400 grams granulated sugar (about 2 cups)
- 3 sticks unsalted butter, softened to room temperature (1½ cups)
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- ⅛ tsp salt
- tiny bit of red gel food coloring (optional, to make the buttercream pink)
Royal Icing & Sprinkles Decoration
- 400 grams powdered sugar (about 3 cups)
- ½ the egg white from one egg (or 15g powdered egg white)
- 4 to 5 Tbsp water
- 1 Tbsp rainbow sprinkles
Bake the Macarons
- Sift the ground almonds and powdered sugar into a large grease-free bowl. Add 72 grams (half the egg whites) into the bowl and mix it in with the almonds and powdered sugar until it forms a thick paste. Set aside.
- While the eggs are whisking on a low speed, slowly add the syrup from the sauce pan. Drip the syrup down the side of the bowl so it doesn't fall from the pan directly into the egg whites or on the whisk. Keep whisking on medium-high speed until it forms stiff peaks (now you have Italian meringue!)
- Add a large dollop of the meringue into the flour mixture and mix it up to loosen everything.Then fold in the remaining meringue with a spatula. Keep mixing until you can drip an unbroken figure-8 back into the bowl from the spatula.
- Fill the macaron batter into a piping bag. Pipe even-sized shapes onto a baking try lined with parchment paper or a silpat. Leave an inch of space between each macaron. Drop them from about a foot off the counter parallel to the counter about four or five times, to allow all the air bubble to come to the top and pop. Let the macarons sit at room temperature until they form a hard shell on them. If you run a finger along the top, it shouldn't feel wet or tacky anymore.
Make the Swiss Meringue Buttercream and Pipe it onto the Macarons
- Fill a small sauce pan with about ½ to 1 inch of water. Situate a heat-proof bowl over the saucepan, but make sure the water is low enough that it doesn't touch the bottom of the bowl. Turn on the stove to medium heat and bring the water to a simmer. Pour the egg whites and granulated sugar into the bowl and pace it on top of the saucepan. Whisk the eggs whites and sugar until the sugar is completely dissolved, when you can't feel any grains when you rub a bit between your fingers.
- Transfer the mixture to the grease-free metal bowl of a stand mixer. Whisk on medium speed until stiff peaks form (now you have Swiss meringue!)
- If the mixture is at room temperature, proceed to the next step. Otherwise, let it sit until the meringue and the bowl of the stand mixer come to room temperature (so you don't melt the butter when you add it).
- Replace the whisk attachment with a paddle attachment and begin mixing on a medium-high speed. Add the softened butter one tablespoon at a time. Let each bit of butter fully incorporate before adding the next tablespoon.
- Add the vanilla, salt and red food coloring (optional to make it pink). Mix for about another 30 seconds to a minute, to create creamy swiss meringue buttercream.
- Fill a piping bag with the buttercream and pipe a circle onto every other macaron shell. (One half of each macaron pair will remain un-piped, since it will go on top of the piped macaron to create a delicious macaron sandwich).
Decorated with Royal Icing & Rainbow Sprinkles
- Sift the powder sugar into the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment.
- With the mixer on a low speed, add the egg whites and 4 tablespoons of water. Increase the speed to medium high and mix until there is no more dry powdered sugar and the mixture is creamy. If the royal icing feels too stiff (and therefore, it'll be too hard to squeeze through your piping bag) mix in the additional one tablespoon of water.
- Fill a piping bag with the royal icing and squeeze out squiggly blobs on the top of each macaron sandwich.
- While the icing is still wet, add the rainbow sprinkles on top so they stick to the royal icing.
- Let the icing on the macarons dry completely, then it's time to devour them! Enjoy!