These splatter paint macarons are made with royal icing and drops of gel food coloring for a beautiful watercolor effect. They’re filled with a bright pink strawberry milkshake buttercream for a contrasting pop of color.
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How to Make Splatter Paint Macarons
- Prepare the dry ingredients – sift the almond flour and powdered sugar together.
- Make the meringue – whisk the egg whites and granulated sugar until you have stiff peaks.
- Combine meringue and dry ingredients – fold the dry ingredients into the meringue and deflate some of the air out of the batter.
- Pipe the macarons – using a medium sized piping tip, pipe the macarons into 3/4 inch circles.
- Rest the macarons – rest the macarons until the batter is no longer sticky.
- Bake – bake the macarons at 305F-315F for 14-16 minutes.
- Prepare the macaron shells for painting – dip half of the macaron shells in royal icing.
- Splatter the macarons – using a small paint brush, splatter the gel food coloring on the tops of the macaron shells.
- Make the buttercream – fill the macarons with the strawberry buttercream and refrigerate.
How to Paint Macarons with Food Coloring
To paint these splatter macarons, first you need to prepare a 10 second royal icing. This means that the royal icing will sink back into itself after 10 seconds. You want the royal icing to be thick enough to not drip down the sides of the macaron but thin enough to dry within about 30 minutes.
I like to cover the tops of the macaron shells with royal icing because it gives you a thin canvas-like surface for the paint drops. You can splatter the macarons without covering the tops with royal icing, but the paint may soak into the macaron shell and won’t be as vibrant.
Above you can see the consistency of the royal icing. I place it in a small glass bowl so it’s easy to dip the tops of the macaron shells.
How Long Should Royal Icing Dry Before Painting?
The royal icing should dry for at least 30 minutes. If you touch the icing and it makes a dent, it’s not ready.
Painting on Royal Icing
You’ll need the following for the gel food coloring paint:
- Gel food coloring
- Vodka (or clear vanilla extract)
- Small plastic paint palette (or very small bowls)
- Disposable gloves (optional)
Before you start painting the macarons, place the macaron shells on a parchment lined baking sheet, as the splattering can get a bit messy. You may want to wear disposable gloves, because the food color may stain your fingers, but the gloves will make it more difficult to splatter the paint.
Prepare your colors by adding a drop of food coloring and a few drops of vodka in a separate well of the plastic paint palette for each color.
Below is the set of brushes I use. They’re all different sizes but you will still get the same splatter effect with most of them.
How Do You Splatter Macarons?
Using a separate brush for each color, dip the brush into the well, swirl it around to make sure you have enough color on the brush, place the brush directly on top of the macaron shells you’re painting, and run your finger across the bristles.
If the color isn’t as strong as you’d like, you can add more gel color to the vodka.
Why Do You Add Vodka to Food Coloring?
Vodka is commonly used to make food coloring paint because it has a high alcohol content, and alcohol evaporates faster than water, so the food coloring will dry faster. You’ll be left with a very small amount of alcohol similar to the alcohol amounts in extracts.
What Can I Use Instead of Vodka?
If you don’t want to use vodka to mix your food coloring, you can always use clear vanilla extract. I wouldn’t recommend using pure vanilla extract because the brown tint will darken the colors.
What is the Best Food Coloring for Macarons?
The best food coloring for macarons is gel food coloring. This food coloring is my favorite and I use it for the macaron batter and also to decorate the shells after baking. Avoid liquid food coloring because it will add more moisture to the batter which can affect the texture of the macaron shells.
Strawberry Milkshake Buttercream
I filled these splatter paint macarons with a strawberry milkshake buttercream which I colored a bright pink for a pop of color.
- Salted butter – at room temperature
- Powdered sugar – no need to sift unless the sugar is clumpy
- Heavy whipping cream
- Strawberry milk powder – dissolve the powder in the heavy whipping cream before adding to the bowl so the powder doesn’t make the buttercream grainy
- Pink gel food coloring
Whisk the butter and powdered sugar until creamy. Dissolve the strawberry milk powder in the cream before adding to the mixing bowl. Once the powder is fully dissolved, add the mixture to the bowl, and add 1 or 2 drops of pink gel food coloring to the buttercream. Continue mixing until the buttercream is smooth and creamy.
More macaron art to try
- Galaxy Macarons
- Ladybug Macarons
- Strawberry Cheesecake Macarons
- Mango Macarons
- Coffee Macarons
- Orange Macarons
- Honey Macarons
- Bunny Macarons
Splatter Paint Macarons
- Kitchen scale
- Stand mixer
- One 16 inch pastry bag
- One 8 inch pastry bag
- Medium round piping tip
- Two silicone mats
- Two half sheet pans
- Oven thermometer
- Small paint palette or 5 small bowls
- Five small painting brushes
- Disposable gloves (optional)
- 90 grams powdered sugar
- 80 grams almond flour
- 70 grams egg whites (room temperature)
- 70 grams granulated sugar
- 2 grams egg white powder (optional)
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
Strawberry milkshake buttercream
- ¼ cup salted butter (½ stick)
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- ½ tsp heavy whipping cream
- ¼ tsp strawberry milk powder
- 1 drop pink gel food coloring
- ½ cup powdered sugar
- ½ tsp meringue powder
- ½ tsp water
- 1 drop blue food coloring
- 1 drop green food coloring
- 1 drop yellow food coloring
- 1 drop red food coloring
- 1 drop pink food coloring
- ½ tbsp vodka (or clear vanilla extract)
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 see small bubbles (this can take as little as 15 seconds sometimes).
- Slowly add 3 tbsp of granulated sugar, 1 tbsp at a time, waiting about 10 seconds between each tbsp.
- 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 and add the vanilla extract.
- Whisk for about 5 minutes, or until stiff peaks. The meringue should form a clump inside the whisk.
- Add 1/3 of the powdered sugar/almond flour mixture 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, continue folding a few more times to make sure all the ingredients are combined well.
- Now it's time to deflate some of the air in the batter by folding once and smearing the batter against the side of the bowl twice, and then folding again. You only want to smear the batter 3 or 4 times against the side of the bowl because you don't want to deflate all of the air in the batter.
- You can test the consistency by lifting the spatula and letting the batter run down. If it falls in ribbons without breaking and sinks back into itself within 30 seconds, the batter is ready.
Pipe the macarons
- Transfer the batter to the 16 inch pastry bag.
- Holding the pastry bag at a 90° angle, pipe the macarons into ¾ inch circles about 1 inch apart.
- 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.
- Let the shells cool for about 30 minutes before dipping the tops in the royal icing.
- In a small bowl, combine the powdered sugar, meringue powder, and a few drops of water and stir with a spoon.
- Continue stirring, adding a few drops of water at a time if necessary.
- Once you can lift the spoon and the icing sinks back into itself within 10 seconds, the icing is ready.
- Dip the tops of half of the shells in the royal icing to cover the tops completely.
- Let the royal icing dry for at least 30 minutes or more if necessary. The icing is ready to paint on once it has completely dried.
Splatter the paint
- Place the macaron shells with the royal icing on a parchment lined baking tray, as the splattering can get a bit messy. The food color may stain your fingers, so you can wear disposable gloves, but the gloves will make it more difficult to splatter the paint. (The paint will wash off your skin after a few hand washes)
- Prepare your colors by adding a drop of food coloring and a few drops of vodka in a separate well of the plastic paint palette for each color.
- Using a separate brush for each color, dip the brush into the well, swirl it around to make sure you have enough color on the brush, place the brush directly on top of the macaron shells you're painting, and run your finger across the bristles.
- If the color is too light, you can add more gel color to the vodka.
- Splatter each color at a time until all the macaron tops are painted, and let dry for at least an hour.
Strawberry milkshake buttercream
- In a medium bowl, using the stand mixer, whisk the butter until smooth.
- Add half of the powdered sugar and whisk until fully combined.
- Add the remaining powdered sugar and whisk until combined.
- In a very small bowl combine the heavy cream and the strawberry milk powder and mix with a spoon until the powder has completely dissolved.
Assemble the macarons
- Fill an 8 inch pastry bag with the buttercream and cut a ½ inch opening at the bottom of the bag.
- Pipe the buttercream in the center of half of the macaron shells and top with the decorated shells.
- Place the assembled macarons in the refrigerator overnight so they can mature.
- When ready to eat, remove macarons from the refrigerator and let come to room temperature, about 20 to 30 minutes, before eating.