Rocket Pop Macarons

These macarons are highly experimental.

Rocket Pop Macarons

I’ve had an idea knocking around for a while to make Firecracker Popsicle/Bomb Pop inspired macarons but I kept getting defeated by pandemic restrictions. Now that the summer heat is here, the long weekend is on the way, and I can actually get (almost) everything I need, it’s finally time to try it out!

Rocket Pop Macarons

The flavours I need to represent, to mimic a Firecracker Popsicle, are cherry, lemon, and blue raspberry. I had a few ideas on how to add these bold flavours to a finicky macaron batter, from chopped dried fruits to jams, but couldn’t find exactly what I was looking for. Then, I had a crazy idea: drink crystals. Where else to find that unnatural blue raspberry flavour? Adding to the mad scientist vibes, I then chose to treat the flavoured drink crystals like sugar and directly replace the white sugar in my recipe with the crystals. For a nice, tart cream filling, I decided to treat myself and go with a tasty store-bought jar of lemon curd.

Rocket Pop Macarons

I did get pandemic-ed a little. I couldn’t find cherry drink crystals anywhere and had to go with fruit punch flavour instead. I suggest using cherry if you can find it!


for the macaron shells

  • 1 cup ground almonds (as finely ground as you can find)
  • 1⅛ cup icing sugar
  • 2 large egg whites, at room temperature
  • 3 tbsp + 1 tsp drink crystals (½ blue raspberry and ½ cherry – I split my egg whites in half to make one batch of two-toned cookies)

for the filling

  • store bought lemon curd


for the macaron shells

  1. Prepare your parchment paper sheets (or use silicon baking mats with printed circles).
    • You will need 2-3 half-sheet pan size pieces.
    • Draw 1″ circles, ½” apart, across the entire sheet.
    • Place them on a large, flat surface suitable for drying your batter, like a dining table.
  2. Sift the ground almond and icing sugar together, twice.
    • Set aside.
  3. In two large, stainless steel mixing bowls, beat each egg white with a hand mixer on medium-to-high speed until frothy.
  4. Slowly, add respective drink crystals while continuing to beat the egg whites.
  5. Beat on high speed until the egg whites reach stiff peaks.
    • You’ve made meringue!
  6. Split your dry ingredient mixture in half (by weight is best) and fold your dry ingredient mixture into the meringue in two parts.
  7. Here’s the part that takes practice: it’s time for the macaronnage! 
    1. With a spatula, spread the batter against the side of the bowl.
    2. Then scoop it up by running the spatula along the side of the bowl again and try to flip all of it over and sort-of lightly smack it back into the bottom of the bowl.
    3. Gather the batter up again and repeat 12-15 times.
      • It takes some time to figure out the best way to do this, don’t be afraid to play around with it. When doing the macaronnage correctly, repeating more than 20 times can result in oily, blotchy macarons, but I’ve found that doing it incorrectly doesn’t count towards this limit.
      • If you are doing it right, the batter will take on a noticeable and somewhat sudden change in consistency, this means you are about half-way to that limit. When finished, the batter should be thickened and drip slowly and smoothly from the spatula. You will have to pipe it onto your baking sheets/mats and it won’t work if the batter is too runny.
      • This is the technique that defines macarons, this is what takes practice and what makes mastery of them impressive.
  8. Fill a pastry bag (or zip-top bag) with your batter and pipe onto your waiting sheets/mats.
    • For perfectly round macarons, use a large 0.4″ plain tip with a pastry bag (or do it the lazy way and cut a corner off of a zip-top bag for mostly round macarons).
    • Twist (or don’t yet cut) the bag at the tip and place it – tip side down – in a tall glass.
    • Fill with your batter and twist, close, or clip the other end to keep the messy batter moving in the right direction.
    • Pipe the batter into the centre of the circles on your sheets/mats and stop before reaching the edges, as the batter will spread out a bit.
  9. Once finished piping, carefully pick the sheets/mats up and drop them back on to the table from a height of a couple of inches.
    • The theory is that this helps the cookies keep their round shape and form the little bubbles around the bottom – called the pied – when you put them in the oven.
  10. Leave the cookies on the table, uncovered, to dry.
    • This could take as little as 15-30 minutes on a dry day, or as mush as a couple of hours on a humid day.
    • You will know the macarons are dry when they look smooth, less glossy, and are no longer sticky to the touch.
  11. Preheat your oven to 350°F.
    • Place an oven rack in the centre of your oven.
    • Place a sheet of macarons on two stacked sheet pans (this will stop the bottoms from getting too hot, resulting in cracked macarons).
  12. Bake for 15-18 minutes.
    • If your oven heats unevenly, rotate the pan half way through baking.
    • It can be hard to tell when the macaron are done, I pull them out when the kitchen smells sweet and the cookies look crisp, have just started to brown, and don’t look blotchy in the middle.
  13. As soon as the parchment sheet/baking mat is cool enough to handle, take it out of the pan with all the cookies on top and place it on a cooling rack.
    • The macarons will be too sticky to remove from the sheet/mat now; once cooled, they should peel off easily.
    • I usually wait a few minutes for the pans to cool a bit and for the oven to come back to a steady temperature before moving the next sheet to the pans and baking the next round.

Once everything has cooled, spread the lemon curd onto half of your shells. Then place another similarly sized shell on top and gently press them together.

You’ve made macarons!

Rocket Pop Macarons

Fireworks Night

Fireworks Night | Sophster-Toaster

Ever since I was a kid, I’ve always loved the Canada Day long weekend because it truly kicks off the summer. As Canadians, we tell ourselves that the Victoria Day long weekend (towards the end of May) is the weekend that starts the season of warm weather and summer activities, but it’s really just the marker for when it’s safe to put your garden vegetables in without risk of frost. Canada Day is when you can really sit out on patios at night, have barbecues, swim in lakes, and go camping and cottaging.

I also love that both Canada and America have a summer kick-off celebration at the same time of year. We celebrate almost the same thing, at the same time of year and in the same ways. The two holidays (one on July 1 and the other on July 4) almost never line up to be on the same weekend, but I love how we get a full week of festive spirits on both sides of the border right at the beginning of summer.

We were up at the cottage for Canada Day this year. We’re on an island, and lucky enough to have our deck face the part of the lake where the fireworks are, so we lit some citronella candles and played with sparklers while we watched the boats gather, each with their own twinkling, bright light. As the stars came out, we tucked the pup inside, sipped some Canadian beer, and watched the fireworks shimmer across the lake. Summer is officially here.

Fireworks Night | Sophster-ToasterFireworks Night | Sophster-ToasterFireworks Night | Sophster-Toaster

Dress ModCloth
Shoes Old Navy

Fireworks Night | Sophster-Toaster

All photos by Matt Harrison.

(Un)true North: Fun Facts about Canada

(Un)true North | Sophster-Toaster

Canada is a big country with a comparatively small population living above some very rowdy neighbours. We’ve got a lot going on up here, but no one seems to notice when that bigger family downstairs is famous for all the great contributions they’ve made to the community but also has a history of starting fires that threaten to burn down the whole house. There’s a lot of misinformation when it comes to Canada, so I’m here today, while we celebrate the birth of our nation, to clear up some of those rumours and submit some unverified, but still totally true*, facts that all Canadians can agree upon.

*not true at all

  1. John A. MacDonald, our first Prime Minister, was actually a beaver. It’s a large part of the Canadian identity.

2. Today we elect human leaders but still try to pick the person who best personifies the ideals of the mighty beaver.

3. However, our navy is still led by beavers.

4. We asked nicely for our freedom and it was politely granted.

5. All corgis are representatives of The Queen in Canada and must be treated as such.

(Un)true North | Sophster-Toaster (Un)true North | Sophster-Toaster

6. It snows all the time, except for a quick too weeks in July.

7. Canada is the biggest country in the world and touches every ocean.

8. We have a chain restaurant that only serves poutine and it’s the first place many of us eat upon returning from a vacation, even if we didn’t leave the country. They have the best vegetarian gravy.

9. We kind of burned down the White House a while back. It wasn’t really us because we were British at the time, but we still bring it up whenever America tries to diss us.

10. If something terrible were to happen, we hold a lot of the world’s fresh water supply and that is a very comforting fact.

11. We don’t understand Fahrenheit, miles, or any other America Units and are very confused when we cross the border.

12. I know people who put maple syrup in their coffee.

(Un)true North | Sophster-Toaster (Un)true North | Sophster-Toaster (Un)true North | Sophster-Toaster

13. I don’t know what Canadian bacon is. We don’t have that here. Some people say it’s peameal bacon but it doesn’t really look like that either. It’s a mystery.

14. My dad was the first person to wear a Canadian tuxedo.

15. A lot of us grew up with more British movies, television and books than American, and more American than Canadian, and feel like we’re kind of a child of all three cultures.

16. A lot of people do say “eh”.

17. There are a few Canadian accents, but what you’re thinking of is probably an American midwestern accent.

18. We have the world’s most attractive population thanks to our strong multiculturalism.

19. There is a weird “rock and roll” version of the Canadian National Anthem played on an electric guitar that schools will sometimes play to spice things up in the morning.

(Un)true North | Sophster-Toaster(Un)true North | Sophster-Toaster

20. Canada smells like fresh pine and pancakes.

21. Starting an interaction with the word “sorry” is normal.

22. We recently had to legally determine that apologizing is not an admission of fault, it’s called the Apology Act.

23. We lock our doors when we leave but not when we’re home. We’ve recently been told that’s weird.

24. We have deer flies the size of small dogs.

25. Some of these facts are 100% true.

(Un)true North | Sophster-Toaster

Top Roots
Skirt ModCloth
Shoes ModCloth
Sunglasses ModCloth
Earrings Nicole Gagnon

Photos by me and Matt Harrison.