These Cotton Candy Macarons are so delicious and so much fun! Learn to make these swirled shells filled with cotton candy flavored buttercream. If you love swirled macarons, you should definitely try my Peanut Butter and Jelly Macarons, Galaxy Macarons and Strawberry Cheesecake Macarons.
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Cotton Candy Macarons Recipe
- Powdered Sugar – Sift the powdered sugar and almond flour together because the almond flour doesn’t sift well alone.
- Almond Flour – Use finely sifted flour even though you’ll be sifting it again.
- Egg Whites – Make sure your egg whites are at room temperature so that the meringue whips up more easily.
- Granulated Sugar
- Egg White Powder – If you’re having problems making a strong meringue, adding a bit of egg white powder can help.
- Vanilla Extract – Adds a nice flavor to the shells.
- Gel Food Coloring – Use gel food coloring because liquid food coloring will add extra moisture to the batter which can affect the texture of the shells.
How to Make Cotton Candy Macarons
- Prepare dry ingredients – Sift the almond flour and powdered sugar. Sifting once is enough.
- Make the meringue – Whisk the egg whites and the granulated sugar until you have very stiff peaks.
- Combine ingredients – Add the dry ingredients to the meringue and fold until you can’t see any more of the dry ingredients.
- Divide the batter – Transfer half of the batter to a small bowl, leaving the rest in the mixing bowl, and add the pink and blue gel color to each bowl.
- Fold the batter – Fold the batter in each bowl until the color is fully mixed in, but be careful not to over fold. The batter is ready when you lift the spatula and it runs down in ribbons without breaking.
- Pipe the shells – Pipe the shells while moving the bag slightly in a circular motion to create the swirls.
- Rest Shells – Let the shells rest until the batter has dried and is no longer sticky.
- Bake – Bake at 305F-310F for about 14-16 minutes.
How to Make Swirl Macarons
To make swirl macarons, you need to add the colors after you have finished mixing the powdered sugar and almond flour into the meringue. When you don’t see any more dry ingredients in the batter, stop folding and transfer half of the batter to a small bowl.
Add the blue color to one bowl and the pink color to the other bowl. Fold the batter in each bowl and transfer each color to a separate piping bag. Place the two bags inside the larger bag with the piping tip. This way the colors won’t mix inside the bag and you’ll get very defined swirls.
How to Pipe Swirl Macarons
To pipe swirl macarons, hold the bag at a 90 degree angle and start moving the bag slightly in a circular motion. This movement is what creates the defined swirls. If you don’t move the bag around, you’ll end up with a macaron shell that is half blue and half pink.
Cotton Candy Buttercream
- Salted butter (softened) – You can also use unsalted butter but add a pinch of salt to enhance the flavor of the buttercream.
- Powdered sugar – No need to sift unless it’s clumpy.
- Heavy whipping cream
- Cotton candy extract – I buy mine online
Whisk the butter until creamy and add the powdered sugar, half a cup at time to avoid the buttercream becoming grainy. Once the powdered sugar and the butter are combined, add the heavy whipping cream, cotton candy extract, and pink gel color and continue to mix until creamy and smooth.
- Weigh all ingredients – Use a kitchen scale to weigh all your ingredients for accuracy. Macarons are such finicky cookies, and cups and tablespoons don’t always give you exact measurements.
- Whisk the egg whites until you have very stiff peaks – The meringue should clump up inside the whisk and the peak should stand straight up when you lift the whisk.
- Rest the macaron shells before baking – Let the shells rest so they don’t crack in the oven. You’ll know they’re ready when the tops have lost their shine and they’re no longer sticky.
- Use an oven thermometer – This one is so important! Oven displays are not always accurate. Use a thermometer to make sure you’re baking at the correct temperature.
How to Store Macarons
Store macarons in an air tight container in the refrigerator or the freezer.
How Long Do Macarons Last?
Macarons can last up to a week in the refrigerator or up to two months in the freezer without the texture of the shells being affected. Make sure they’re in an air tight container, especially if your freezing them.
More swirled macarons to try
- Peanut Butter and Jelly Macarons
- Strawberry Cheesecake Macarons
- Pumpkin Cheesecake Macarons
- Mango Macarons
- Galaxy Macarons
Cotton Candy Macarons
- Kitchen scale
- Stand mixer
- Two spatulas
- Small bowl (for separating the batter)
- One 16 inch pastry bag
- Three 8 inch pastry bags
- Round piping tip (Ateco 10 or Wilton 12)
- Two silicone baking mats
- Two half sheet pans
- Oven thermometer
- 90 grams powdered sugar
- 80 grams almond flour
- 70 grams egg whites
- 70 grams granulated sugar
- 2 grams egg white powder (optional)
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- 2 drops sky blue gel food coloring
- 3 drops deep pink gel food coloring
Cotton candy buttercream
- ¼ cup salted butter
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1 tsp heavy whipping cream
- ⅛ tsp cotton candy extract
- 2 drops deep pink gel food coloring
Prepare dry ingredients
- Sift powdered sugar and almond flour using a whisk to break down any clumps. Set aside.
- Line sheet pans with silicone mats.
- Insert the piping tip into the 16 inch pastry bag.
Make the meringue
- Whisk the egg whites on medium speed (speed 4) until you start to see small bubbles and the egg whites start looking opaque (this can take as little as 15 seconds sometimes).
- Slowly add 3 tbsp of granulated sugar, 1 tbsp at a time.
- Whisk until you start to see tracks in the meringue.
- Increase speed to 6 and continue slowly adding the remainder of the granulated sugar, 1 tbsp at a time, until you’ve added all the sugar.
- Once you have soft peaks, stop the mixer, scrape the sides of the bowl and add the vanilla.
- Whisk for another 5 minutes or until stiff peaks.
- Add 1/3 of the dry ingredients into the meringue and fold the batter until you can't see any of the dry ingredients.
- When folding the batter, slide the spatula under the batter, lift it in a U motion, go over the top of the batter, and slide it under again. This way you make sure to get the batter at the bottom of the bowl.
- Once fully combined, add in another 1/3 of the dry ingredients and repeat the process of folding.
- Add in the last 1/3 of the dry ingredients and fold until fully combined.
- Once all of the powdered sugar/almond flour mixture has been added, fold just until all the ingredients are combined and then stop mixing.
- Transfer half of the batter to the small bowl and add the pink gel food coloring. Fold just until the color is fully mixed in.
- Now you need to deflate some of the air in the batter by taking the spatula and smearing the batter on the sides of the bowl two or three times, and then folding once or twice.
- Continue this process of smearing some of the batter on the side of the bowl and folding once or twice until the batter starts to run off the spatula in ribbons.
- You can test the consistency by lifting the spatula and letting the batter run down. If it falls in ribbons and sinks into itself within 30 seconds, it's ready.
- Transfer the pink batter to an 8 inch pasty bag and set aside. Don't cut the opening at the tip yet.
- Now add the sky blue gel food coloring to the batter in the mixing bowl and repeat the process above of folding and deflating, being very careful not to over mix the batter.
- Once the batter is ready, transfer to an 8 inch pastry bag.
- Cut a ½ inch opening at the tip of both bags and place them inside the 16 inch bag with the piping tip.
Pipe the shells
- Holding the pastry bag at a 90° angle, pipe the macarons into ¾ inch circles about 1 inch apart, swirling the batter slightly in a circle to get the swirls.
- Tap the tray against the counter about 8 times to release any air bubbles.
- Let the macarons rest until they form a skin and are no longer sticky.
- While the macarons are resting, preheat the oven to 310°F.
- Bake the macarons for 14-16 minutes.
- Macarons are ready when they no longer shift if you touch the tops.
Cotton candy buttercream
- Using the stand mixer, whisk the butter until creamy.
- Add half of the powdered sugar and whisk until fully mixed in. Add the rest of the powdered sugar and continue whisking.
- Add the pink gel coloring and the cotton candy extract and continue whisking until the buttercream is creamy and smooth.
Assemble the macarons
- Fill an 8 inch pastry bag with the buttercream and cut a ½ inch opening at the tip of the bag.
- Pipe the buttercream in the center of half of the macaron shells and top with the other half.
- Refrigerate the filled macarons for at least 24 hours before eating.
- When ready to eat, remove from the refrigerator at least 20-30 minutes before and allow macarons to come to room temperature.