These macarons are just so pretty and they really are as sweet as the look.
The beautiful pink, vanilla bean macaron shells are sandwiched together with luscious French Buttercream, which I made using candy floss sugar and there is real candy floss hidden in the centre of each little macaron.
I found a small bottle of candy floss sugar at Selfridges and couldn't help myself, I used it in place of caster sugar to make the sugar syrup for the French Buttercream, in the hope that it would pack a big candy floss punch but it didn't.
I really tried to take a picture of a 'half eaten' or split in half macaron so you could see the middle but they all looked terrible and you couldn't really see anything anyway. I hear that if you freeze a macaron and then cut it in half once frozen you can get perfect pictures of the inside, as the macaron holds it's shape. I will definitely try this next time I make these to give you a look at that candy floss centre.
The candy floss sugar I used is already pink (you can also get blue) so I didn't add any food colouring to the buttercream but if you're using caster sugar use 3 tbsp not 2 1/2 and add a little pink food colour at the end.
You can buy Candy Floss flavouring online and the addition of this to the buttercream would really amp these up but to be honest I really love them without it.
I used a French Meringue Macaron recipe for these cuties and I have to say it was a pure joy not to have to faff about with sugar syrup, especially since I do so much of that with Buttercream anyway. We usually make Italian Meringue Macarons at the bakery as they are much easier to produce on a large scale but I love French Meringue.
French Meringue Macarons are much simpler to make but also much easier to over mix so be careful.
Candy Floss Macarons
For the Macarons:
80g ground almonds
120g icing sugar
2 large egg whites
40g caster sugar
1 vanilla pod
pink food colouring paste
For the Filling:
110g unsalted butter, very soft
1 large egg
3 tbsp water
2 1/2 tbsp candy floss sugar (pink)
1 small bag or tub of pink Candy Floss
For the Macarons:
Line two baking sheets with baking paper.
Sift the almonds and icing sugar together into a medium bowl and set aside.
Place the egg whites into a large mixing bowl and whisk until they reach soft peaks. Gradually add the caster sugar, whisking continuously until you have a firm,glossy meringue. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla pod and add to the meringue along with the pink food colouring paste, whisking until evenly distributed.
Using a rubber spatula, gradually fold in the almond mixture, one third at a time. Once all the almond mixture has been incorporated use the spatula to cut through and fold the mixture a few more times. Just until the batter falls from the spatula in a thick ribbon that sinks back into the rest of the mixture within about 30 seconds.
Pour the mixture into a large piping bag fitted with a 1cm plain round nozzle and pipe small rounds of equal size. Tap the baking sheets firmly against the counter top to knock out any air bubbles and help the macarons settle. Leave the macarons on the counter at room temperature for around 30 minutes or until they form a skin.
Preheat the oven to 160C .
Bake the macarons one tray at a time in the preheated oven for 10-15 minutes depending on their size.
Slide the baking paper off of the hot tray and allow the macarons to cool on the sheet for 10 minutes before peeling the shells off the baking paper.
For the Filling:
Beat the softened butter in a medium sized bowl until very soft and creamy, set aside.
Place the egg into a large mixing bowl and set aside.
Combine the water and candy floss sugar in a small saucepan and place over a medium heat until it reaches soft ball stage. (Drop a little of the syrup into a small bowl of cold water, if you can make the drop into a small ball with your fingers the syrup is ready).
While heating the syrup beat the egg lightly with a handheld mixer. When the syrup reaches soft ball stage slowly poor the syrup like a thread into the beaten egg, beating continuously at a high speed.
Reduce the speed to a medium and continue to beat the mixture until the bowl is no longer hot and the mixture is heavy and white.
Add the very soft butter to the mixture in three stages, beating well after each addition. Continue to beat until smooth and creamy.
(The syrup and butter may separate as you do this, the mixture will look curdled and horrible and you will think you have made a mistake. You have not! I promise, just keep beating and the buttercream will miraculously become creamy and gorgeous again).
Add the vanilla extract and beat well.
Pair up your macaron shells and pipe around 1 tsp of buttercream onto the flat side of one macaron in each pair. Place a little candy floss in the centre of the buttercream and sandwich each macaron together with it's partner.