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!

Ingredients

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

Method

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

Cinnamon Macarons

Cinnamon Macarons | Sophster-Toaster

I’ve been saving this flavour in my idea bank for some time now. It’s a simple ingredient, and so easy to work with, but it brings a big flavour that stirs up childhood memories of sunny Saturday mornings. With so many of the best breakfast treats being made with cinnamon, it’s hard to put my finger on just which one these cookies taste like, but I’m going with Cinnamon Toast Crunch. Here’s my *new and improved* recipe for Cinnamon Macarons with Cinnamon Buttercream!

Cinnamon Macarons | Sophster-Toaster Cinnamon Macarons | Sophster-Toaster Cinnamon Macarons | Sophster-Toaster Cinnamon Macarons | Sophster-Toaster

Ingredients

for the macaron shells

  • 1 cup ground almonds (as finely ground as you can find)
  • 1⅛ cup icing sugar
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 large egg whites, at room temperature
  • 3 tbsp + 1 tsp sugar

for the filling

  • 7 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 egg, at room temperature
  • 3 tbsp water
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon

Method

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, icing sugar and cinnamon together, twice.
    • Set aside.
  3. In a large stainless steel mixing bowl, beat egg whites with a hand mixer on medium-to-high speed until frothy.
  4. Slowly, add the sugar while continuing to beat the egg whites. 
  5. Beat on high speed until the egg whites reach stiff peaks. 
    • You’ve made meringue!
  6. 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.

for the buttercream

  1. Warm the butter in a double boiler or in the microwave until it is soft, but not melted, and beat until creamy.
  2. Break an egg into a large heat-resistant mixing bowl and beat lightly with a hand mixer. 
    • Set aside.
  3. Add water and sugar to a small saucepan and place over medium-low heat. 
  4. Bring to a simmer and stir until you can draw a line of bare pan without the liquid immediately covering it back up, about 7 minutes. 
    • You’ve made simple syrup!
  5. Slowly pour your simple syrup into the beaten egg while beating with a hand mixer on as high a speed as you can without flinging syrup everywhere – remember it is very hot and sticky. 
    • Once all the syrup is in, beat the mixture on high speed, slowly reducing speed until it is thick, light in colour and the bowl is no longer hot.
  6. Add the butter to this mixture in two or three parts and beat on medium speed until fully incorporated and creamy. 
    • If the buttercream splits and continuing to beat doesn’t bring it back together, it has likely become too cold. 
      • Pop it in the warm oven or over a double boiler for 10 seconds and try beating it again. 
      • Continue doing this until it comes together.
  7. Add cinnamon and gently beat in.

Once everything has cooled, place your buttercream in a piping (or zip-top) bag and pipe onto half of your shells. Then place another similarly sized shell on top and gently press them together. 

You’ve made macarons!

Cinnamon Macarons | Sophster-Toaster

Halloween Macaron Recipes

I’ve written a few Halloween themed macaron recipes over the years. I’ve taken inspiration from Reese Cups, pumpkin spice lattes and the spookiest cocktail ingredient: absinthe. Here are my recipes.

Peanut Butter & Chocolate Macarons

Peanut Butter & Chocolate Macarons | Sophster-Toaster

Inspired by the classic, top-tier Halloween candy, these macarons have a chocolate shell and a creamy nut butter filling. My version is peanut free, using cashew butter. Click here to read the recipe.

Pumpkin Spice Macarons

Pumpkin Spice Macarons | Sophster-Toaster

Featuring pumpkin buttercream filling and a fall spiced cookie shell, this macaron is the epitome of October. Click here to read the recipe.

Absinthe Macarons

Absinthe Macarons | Sophster-Toaster

A spooky cookie for a sophisticated palate, this anise flavoured macaron is achieved with a vanilla shell, absinthe buttercream filling, and a heap of gel food colouring. Click here to read the recipe.

Happy Halloween!

Small Business Gift Guide – Holiday 2020

It’s been a wild year for small businesses. We’ve had to deal with lock downs, cancellations, overhauls and so much uncertainty. Sometimes it feels like we are facing a new challenge every single day.

We’ve also received a huge amount of support from our networks and communities and found new ways of doing things that will have us ready to bounce back even better.

I want to say a personal THANK YOU to everyone who has helped out their local small business people this year – whether it be by making a purchase, recommending us, resharing us, sending us sweet thank you notes or just letting us vent – you kept us going through the most stressful year of our lives.

Please take a look at some of my favourite items from small businesses.

Bath & Body

Sarah’s Soaps

Sarah's Soaps | Small Business Gift Guide - Holiday 2020 | Sophster-Toaster

Peppermint + Fir Needle Bar Soap

7C Salts

7C Salts | Small Business Gift Guide - Holiday 2020 | Sophster-Toaster

I Am My Sunshine – Solar Plexus Chakra Bath Salts

Marley’s Monsters

Marley's Monsters | Small Business Gift Guide - Holiday 2020 | Sophster-Toaster

Mesh Laundry Bag & Facial Rounds Set

Candles

Wild Serenity

Wild Serenity | Small Business Gift Guide - Holiday 2020 | Sophster-Toaster

Fresh Christmas Tree Scented Wood Wick Soy Candle

Sophster-Toaster

Sophster-Toaster | Small Business Gift Guide - Holiday 2020

Homestead Scented Soy Candle

Accessories

Just a Little This That

Just a Little This That | Small Business Gift Guide - Holiday 2020 | Sophster-Toaster

Pretty in Pink Swarovski Crystal Stud Earrings Collection

Dawning Collective

Dawning Collective | Small Business Gift Guide - Holiday 2020 | Sophster-Toaster

Cozy Fox Necklace

Camp Collection

Camp Collection | Small Business Gift Guide - Holiday 2020 | Sophster-Toaster

Ear Loops Mask 6 Pack in 90’s Colours

Escaping the Ordinary

Escaping the Ordinary | Small Business Gift Guide - Holiday 2020 | Sophster-Toaster

Daisies Roller Skate Accessory

Clothing

Electric West

Electric West | Small Business Gift Guide - Holiday 2020 | Sophster-Toaster

No Thanks Tee

Rosehound

Rosehound | Small Business Gift Guide - Holiday 2020 | Sophster-Toaster

Beer Flower Sweatshirt

Home

Garden City Essentials

Garden City Essentials | Small Business Gift Guide - Holiday 2020 | Sophster-Toaster

Vintage Fruit Beeswax Wrap

Kuishi

Kuishi | Small Business Gift Guide - Holiday 2020 | Sophster-Toaster

Amber Glass Soap Dispenser

Miracle Eye

Miracle Eye | Small Business Gift Guide - Holiday 2020 | Sophster-Toaster

Marigold Woven Blanket

The Outcast Society

The Outcast Society | Small Business Gift Guide - Holiday 2020 | Sophster-Toaster

Cute Kitty Smash Fascism Pennant

DIY Kits

M by M Knitwear

M by M Knitwear | Small Business Gift Guide - Holiday 2020 | Sophster-Toaster

True North Toque Knitting Pattern

Salt + Mustard

Salt + Mustard | Small Business Gift Guide - Holiday 2020 | Sophster-Toaster

Mustard Making Kit

Christmas & Holiday Cards

Brittany Lane Art & Illustration

Brittany Lane Art & Illustration | Small Business Gift Guide - Holiday 2020 | Sophster-Toaster

Together in Spirit

Ostockley

Ostockley | Small Business Gift Guide - Holiday 2020 | Sophster-Toaster

Snowy Pooch

Gift Cards

Don’t forget about your local record shops, book stores and take out places!

All photos courtesy of retailers.