Macarons & More

What Are the Best Food Colourings for Macarons?

macarons with different food colourings

The majority of our macarons are made with natural colourings. We think natural colourings are the best food colourings for macarons because the macarons look more appetising. Natural food colourings may be more difficult to get hold of for a home kitchen, but with a bit of perseverance, you should be able to track them down online and in larger supermarkets.

Macarons & More founder and head baker, Tim Kinnaird has given us his five top tips for colouring your macarons.

1. Avoid liquid colourings

It is best to avoid liquid colourings. They can interfere with the consistency of the macaron batter and cause that to be too runny, leading to misshapen shells. It is best to use a paste or powder, so the consistency is maintained.

2. Don’t pursue colour at the expense of taste

If you are trying to achieve deep vibrant colours, particularly red, blues, greens and blacks you will need to use an artificial colour and probably a good amount of it. Be aware that to achieve that sort of effect, your shells may start to taste a little of the colouring used. A really deep black colour is very difficult to achieve without a large amount of black colouring added. It might look pretty for your Instagram but believe us it won’t taste very nice.

3. Trial a small batch first

To match a colour with a macaron shell can be tricky. If you need a particular colour to fit with a theme, perhaps a wedding or other celebration, you are best to trial the amount of colouring in a small batch first. Get yourself some accurate microscales and weigh the amount of colour you have used and adjust subsequent batches from there.

4. Experiment with post-bake colour application

Another way to add colour is to brush shells once they are baked and have just come out of the oven. Make up a thin mix with your colouring and water - as if you were painting a watercolour picture - and brush a small amount of that lightly on the still warm shell with a pastry brush. The heat from the shell will dry the colour on.

5. Apply powders before baking

Powdered colouring can also be dusted onto shells before baking to give a speckled appearance. Chocolate shells, coloured with cocoa powder, are difficult to make consistently. We gave up trying to do that many years ago and now use a natural caramel colour instead.

One of the best things about baking macarons is the experimentation you can have with colour and flavour combinations. We’re still discovering new techniques and applications of colour. Let us know on Facebook and Twitter how you get on.

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