How To Make Deep Red Macarons

FILED IN: Color Theory

 

Have you tried to make deep red macarons to only end up with some shade of pink? We understand your pain. Deep red macarons are hard to come by. How many drops it too many? Well, in our pursuit to make deep red macarons we put the top four color lines to the test in our latest quest for the perfect deep red.  And is a red, a red, a red? What different companies offer which variance? All great questions, and we are here to answer these for you.

First, start with our shell recipe (below).
Once you have your egg whites at room temp and your ingredients measured out you are ready to go.  But is the next step to blindly choose the color line of your preference, add a million drops and  be done?

No. Let’s break it down for you.
Baker’s Note: we had planned to do four different colors, but ran out of one, so today…only three are here to compare.

First up was Americolor.  Americolor is a very well known brand and ranks close to the top in color matching. Some reasons why this brand is so popular are the variety of colors, easy-to-peel opening for the tops, low aftertaste and pure beautiful color that won’t fade when baking.

We grabbed a super-sized bottle of Red Red and off we went.  We started with 20 drops, then 40, than 50 and we added 10 more drops getting us to the 60 drop count in no time flat. We knew even if it wasn’t the deepest red, that it would darken a few shades while waiting to bake (this is the maturation process that a lot of brands talk about).

The macarons turned out gorgeous, as we knew they would. Beautiful feet, sturdy tops, full shells. So let’s get on to the next color.

Chefmaster. Chefmaster is another color line that dotes on the fact that they have zero fade in their colors (full disclosure: Barb is a color ambassador for Chefmaster). We used the color Red Red.  You might be surprised to learn that today, in the deep red category, they did not win top champ. Though we love their color, the easy-to-use bottles, no aftertaste, and also their shades (much like Americolor) today the red, though, took way more drops than we initially thought. We started with 20 drops, then 40, 60, 80! and then 12 more to make it 92 drops. We knew the maturing process would happen but wanted to make sure the color was brought all the way out of the pink world before maturation. Now we will say the feet on the macarons were best.

So let’s revisit the score.

Americolor: 60 drops

Chefmaster: 92 drops

Next up: Wilton Color Right.  Wilton Color Right was the first color line we ever experimented with, like first ever. It was the only thing that was available when we started making macarons, so we always fall back on these primary, secondary and tertiary colors. They don’t offer a lot of fluff when it comes to colors, but their tried-and-true basics pack a punch. Today we used their red.  When we first started using these colors, we would add 20 drops and then walk away dissapointed that we never could achieve the perfect red. But now we know that, by adding more drops — if done properly (adding it during the last minute-minute in a half beating)– it will bring success.  So today we started with the usual 20 but then kept going: 30, 40, 50.  We added five more: 55 was the total. So Wilton Color Right required the fewest product to achieve the reddest results.

We also tried Red Rose in the The Sugar Art line, but we didn’t have enough left in the pot for their suggested amount of drops relative to the amount of macronage we had, but we were impressed that the light pink that we ended with did mature into a really dark beautiful pink.  That being said we promise at another time to give this color another go… after we order more, obviously…and will update this post.

Macs from top to bottom: Red Red from Americolor
Red from Chefmaster
Red Rose from Sugar Art
Red from Wilton Color Right

So here’s the final tally:

Americolor: 60

Chefmaster: 92

Wilton Color Right: 55

Ding Ding Ding we have a winner!!!  We award it to the Wilton Color Right, for strong vibrant color with the least amount of drops.

Want to try? Here is our shell recipe.  Give it a go, and tell us what you think.

SweetMacShop Macaron Shells

Here is our famous recipe for macaron shells. Please read through carefully before beginning. Cook time: 20 minutes.

Equipment

  • baker's half sheet pans: high quality baking sheets with rimmed edges
  • KitchenAid stand mixer
  • parchment paper or silpat baking mats (with macaron template)
  • oven thermometer
  • piping bag
  • Wilton Tip #12
  • food scale that will measure in grams or ounces
  • scribe (a sharp, pointed tool), or a toothpick
  • digital minute timer

Ingredients
  

  • 160 grams egg whites room temperature
  • 88 grams granulated sugar
  • 256 grams powdered sugar
  • 200 grams almond flour
  • 1 tsp. clear vanilla extract

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 285 for steel pans, or 300 for aluminum pans. Preheat for at least 10 minutes.
  • Measure out your granulated sugar in a small bowl; set aside.
  • Measure powdered sugar, almond flour together, then use a sifter to combine. This will make them smooth and lump-free. Set aside.
  • Place your bowl on the surface of your food scale. Hit the "tare" button to zero out the weight of the bowl. Now measure the room temperature egg whites into the bowl of your KitchenAid stand mixer.
  • Add the clear vanilla extract.
  • Place bowl on mixer stand (this recipe is for the KitchenAid mixer), and attach the wire whisk beater. Set timer for one minute. Turn mixer to Speed 4, and slowly add sugar to egg whites, shaking it in a little at a time during that first minute.
  • When timer goes off, set mixer to Speed 6, and set timer for 2 minutes.
  • When timer goes off, set mixer to Speed 8, and set timer for 1 and 1/2 minutes (90 seconds). Coloring may be added just before this last mixing. Egg whites should look silky, yet stiff enough to hold the peak.
  • Now we'll make the macronage: blend in dry ingredients, by moving a flexible spatula around the bowl, then cutting down through the middle, making sure to scrape the bottom for the flour and incorporate it into the meringue. You know you are done when the batter rolls off the spatula in a continuous ribbon. Batter will be thick...but can flow like a ribbon.
  • BAKER'S NOTE: I have several videos of making macronage in my Instagram Highlights.
  • Insert Wilton #12 tip into the small opening of your piping bag. Scoop the macronage into the bag, filling only half-way full, leaving room to twist the top closed in order to keep the batter from spilling out the top. Pipe the macrons by applying pressure until the batter flows out and just reaches the inner rim of the marked circle on your mat. Immediately release pressure and swirl tip to incorporate point back into the center of the cookie. See my tips on Instagram Highlights.
  • NOTE: if you will be using parchment paper -- search for online -- then download a template of circles and place underneath your parchment paper. You'll remove this before baking.
  • Once the full pan is piped, gently (or aggressively--no judgement here) bang the pan down onto the counter to release air bubbles. I usually place a towel on the counter before banging the pan. Use your scribe or toothpick to pop any large bubbles, in order to create smooth shells.
  • PREP FOR BAKING, METHOD ONE: Place your parchment paper or silpat mat on the bottom of an upside-down baker's half sheet. Pipe your circles. Let rest about 5 minutes, bang (see above) then place them to bake in a pre-heated oven.
  • PREP FOR BAKING, METHOD TWO: Place your parchment paper or silpat mat on the inside of a baker's half sheet (like normal). Pipe your circles. Let rest until your finger can glide across the top of the mac without stickiness, often up to 30 minutes. Bang (see above), then place them to bake in a pre-heated oven.
  • Bake for 20 minutes.
  • Once out of the oven, DO NOT -- I repeat -- do not remove from pan until they are completely cooled.
  • This recipe yields 36-42 completed cookies (about 72-84 shells).

 

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