Homemade Macarons – Pop Tart Edition
If you haven’t made macarons before, check out my own first attempt, along with a some helpful tips and a plethora of what-not-to-do‘s. Macarons are the perfect sweet treat. They have a crisp outside when you first bite down. Then the inside of each macaron shell is chewy and rich. The strawberry macaron filling is made from Swiss meringue buttercream and a hidden center of strawberry jam. These strawberry pop tart macarons invoke all the magic of the classic pop tarts from childhood. So let’s dig in!
How to Make Strawberry Pop Tart Macarons
I tried to get as much “pop tart essence” into these macarons as possible. You might be wondering, how do you add flavor to macarons? Especially pop tart flavor? Let me tell you!
The macaron cookie shells themselves are not flavored with anything extra, so they maintain a biscuit-like flavor, similar to traditional pop tarts. The recipes for the macaron shells and royal icing are from my favorite bakery YouTube channel, Cupcake Jemma.
The filling is swiss meringue buttercream, and the recipe I followed is from Sally’s Baking Addiction. Swiss meringue buttercream gives each of the strawberry macarons a light marshmallow flavor.
There’s a also sweet strawberry filling in the center, just like in classic strawberry pop tarts! And to make it look like the real thing, I topped each macaron with a blob of white royal icing and rainbow sprinkles! 🌈
If macarons aren’t your jam and you’d rather make more traditional homemade pop tarts instead, check out my recipe here.
How to Decorate Pop Tart Macarons
Step 1: Find pairs for each macaron shell
Match the macaron shells based on their size and shape. Pair them up with their soulmate, so your strawberry macarons don’t ooze filling out from one side when you try to take a bite.
Step 2: Pipe the swiss meringue buttercream filling
I dyed my Swiss meringue buttercream frosting pink to match the strawberry macaron filling. You don’t have to dye yours, since it only alters the color and not the flavor.
Pipe circles of the buttercream frosting, leaving the middle empty for the strawberry jam center. Only pipe the frosting on one side of your macaron sandwiches.
Step 3: Fill the center with strawberry jam
You can use any type of jam, jelly or marmalade to fill the center of your macarons. But I recommend strawberry jam to stay as close to the flavor profile of strawberry pop tarts. Use two teaspoons to spoon small dollops of the jam into the center of the buttercream frosting.
Step 4: Press the macaron halves together
Lightly press down on the top of each macaron sandwich. Don’t press too hard, or all the goodies inside will squish out!
Step 5: Pipe the royal icing on top of each macaron
Pipe white (non-colored) royal icing blobs on top of each macaron. This adds a look reminiscent of classic pop tarts to your homemade macaron version. Royal icing also adds an extra sweet crunch on top, once it’s dry.
Step 6: Add rainbow sprinkles
Throw sprinkles around like kindness! 😻 The rainbow sprinkles are the last and final touch to put the ooh-la-la on these adorable cutie pies! Now your macarons look like proper homemade pop tarts!
More Easy Macaron Recipes
The best flavor for macarons in my opinion is pop tart macarons. There’s just something about homemade pop tarts in the form of macarons that is nostalgic and magical. But if you’re looking for other flavors of macaron recipes, check these out!
Strawberry Pop Tart Macarons
- 190 grams finely ground almonds (about 2 cups)
- 205 grams powdered sugar (about 1⅓ cups)
- 144 grams egg whites (about 4 to 5 eggs)
- 190 grams granulated sugar (about 1 cup)
- 60 mL water (about ¼ cup)
Swiss Meringue Buttercream
- 230 grams egg whites (about 6 eggs)
- 400 grams granulated sugar (about 2 cups)
- 3 sticks unsalted butter, softened to room temperature (1½ cups)
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- ⅛ tsp salt
- tiny bit of red gel food coloring (optional, to make the buttercream pink)
Royal Icing & Sprinkles Decoration
- 400 grams powdered sugar (about 3 cups)
- ½ the egg white from one egg (or 15g powdered egg white)
- 4 to 5 Tbsp water
- 1 Tbsp rainbow sprinkles
Bake the Macarons
- Sift the ground almonds and powdered sugar into a large grease-free bowl. Add 72 grams (half the egg whites) into the bowl and mix it in with the almonds and powdered sugar until it forms a thick paste. Set aside.
- While the eggs are whisking on a low speed, slowly add the syrup from the sauce pan. Drip the syrup down the side of the bowl so it doesn't fall from the pan directly into the egg whites or on the whisk. Keep whisking on medium-high speed until it forms stiff peaks (now you have Italian meringue!)
- Add a large dollop of the meringue into the flour mixture and mix it up to loosen everything.Then fold in the remaining meringue with a spatula. Keep mixing until you can drip an unbroken figure-8 back into the bowl from the spatula.
- Fill the macaron batter into a piping bag. Pipe even-sized shapes onto a baking try lined with parchment paper or a silpat. Leave an inch of space between each macaron. Drop them from about a foot off the counter parallel to the counter about four or five times, to allow all the air bubble to come to the top and pop. Let the macarons sit at room temperature until they form a hard shell on them. If you run a finger along the top, it shouldn't feel wet or tacky anymore.
Make the Swiss Meringue Buttercream and Pipe it onto the Macarons
- Fill a small sauce pan with about ½ to 1 inch of water. Situate a heat-proof bowl over the saucepan, but make sure the water is low enough that it doesn't touch the bottom of the bowl. Turn on the stove to medium heat and bring the water to a simmer. Pour the egg whites and granulated sugar into the bowl and pace it on top of the saucepan. Whisk the eggs whites and sugar until the sugar is completely dissolved, when you can't feel any grains when you rub a bit between your fingers.
- Transfer the mixture to the grease-free metal bowl of a stand mixer. Whisk on medium speed until stiff peaks form (now you have Swiss meringue!)
- If the mixture is at room temperature, proceed to the next step. Otherwise, let it sit until the meringue and the bowl of the stand mixer come to room temperature (so you don't melt the butter when you add it).
- Replace the whisk attachment with a paddle attachment and begin mixing on a medium-high speed. Add the softened butter one tablespoon at a time. Let each bit of butter fully incorporate before adding the next tablespoon.
- Add the vanilla, salt and red food coloring (optional to make it pink). Mix for about another 30 seconds to a minute, to create creamy swiss meringue buttercream.
- Fill a piping bag with the buttercream and pipe a circle onto every other macaron shell. (One half of each macaron pair will remain un-piped, since it will go on top of the piped macaron to create a delicious macaron sandwich).
Decorated with Royal Icing & Rainbow Sprinkles
- Sift the powder sugar into the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment.
- With the mixer on a low speed, add the egg whites and 4 tablespoons of water. Increase the speed to medium high and mix until there is no more dry powdered sugar and the mixture is creamy. If the royal icing feels too stiff (and therefore, it'll be too hard to squeeze through your piping bag) mix in the additional one tablespoon of water.
- Fill a piping bag with the royal icing and squeeze out squiggly blobs on the top of each macaron sandwich.
- While the icing is still wet, add the rainbow sprinkles on top so they stick to the royal icing.
- Let the icing on the macarons dry completely, then it's time to devour them! Enjoy!
I originally posted this recipe back on March 20, 2021, for NATIONAL MACARON DAY! What better way to celebrate macaron day (or any day) than with some delicious and unique strawberry pop tart macarons!?💙