Kitchen Tips

Cotton Candy Macarons: Easy Step by Step Recipe – Chelsweets

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I’ve shared a few macaron recipes now, but wanted to mix up my flavors! These cotton candy macarons are dreamy, delicious and absolutely decadent. They also look just as fun as they taste.

image of pink cotton candy macarons filled with cotton candy buttercream

The French Method vs. the Italian Method

The French method of making macarons involves whisking egg whites together with a bit of sugar to create a French meringue with stiff peaks.

The meringue is then gently folded to incorporated a mixture of finely ground almonds and powdered sugar. The process of folding the dry ingredients into the meringue is called macaronage.

This method is quite a bit easier and quicker than the Italian method, which involves a candy thermometer and temperature sensitive sugar syrup.

With that in mind, this recipe uses the French method to make French cotton candy macarons.

image of cotton candy macarons stacked on top of each other

Equipment You’ll Need to Make These Cotton Candy Macarons

Like I mentioned above, these cotton candy macarons don’t require a ton of equipment!

However, I find they turn out best when the ingredients are weighed and the macarons are baked on a silpat mat. As macarons bake, they usually spread less on silpat mats than parchment paper.

Below is a list of ingredients I like to use when I make these macarons:

  • Kitchen scale
  • Stand Mixer or Electric Mixer
  • Large piping bag
  • Round piping tip
  • Large, flat baking sheets
  • Silpat Mats (or parchment paper)
image of the tools and ingredients needed to make french macarons

Making Cotton Candy Macarons – Step by Step Process

While the recipe below is quite detailed, I find visual cues to be super helpful!

Below are some photos and a video tutorial of the process to help guide you through this recipe for French cotton candy macarons.

Step #1: Prep Your Ingredients and Equipment

After weighing your ingredients, wipe down your mixing bowl and whisk attachment with a bit of vinegar or lemon juice to remove any residual grease. This helps the meringue whip up better!

Step #2: Sift Your Dry Ingredients

Sifting your superfine almond flour and powdered sugar will help your macaron shells turn out nice and smooth.

This step makes sure that no chunks of almond or powdered sugar get mixed into your macaron batter.

image of dry ingredients being sifted into bowl to make french macarons

Step #3: Make French Meringue

Next it’s time to make the French meringue! Whisk the egg whites on a medium speed until soft peaks form, then add in the granulated sugar.

Once the sugar is incorporated, add in gel food coloring if desired. Then increase the speed to medium high and mix until stiff peaks form like in the photo below.

Keep a close eye on your mixer to avoid over mixing your meringue.

image of french meringue on a whisk

Step #3: Mix the Dry Ingredients Into The Meringue

Fold the dry ingredients into the meringue in two additions, scooping around the sides of the bowl then pulling through the center.

The batter should form a thick ribbon that flows off your spatula when it’s lifted.

image of pink french macaron batter being mixed to make cotton candy macarons

Step #4: Pipe the Macaron Shells

Fill a large piping bag with the macaron batter and pipe 1 1/4 inch rounds onto the prepared baking sheets, spacing them about 1 inch apart.

Firmly bang or drop your pans on the counter a few times to bring any trapped air bubbles to the surface and pop them with a toothpick.

This can help you avoid hollow or cracked shells.

image of colorful cotton candy macarons being piped onto a silpat mat

Step #5: Rest Your Piped Macarons

Next let the macarons rest for 30 minutes until they form a skin.

They should be mostly dry to the touch and look matte once they’re ready to be baked! While the shells rest preheat your oven.

image of a cotton candy macaron shell that has rested and formed a skin and is now ready to be baked

Step #6: Bake Your Macarons

Bake one tray of macarons at a time and place the tray on the middle rack of your oven. Let the macarons cool fully on the pan then gently remove them from the silpat mat.

image of baked cotton candy colored macaron shells

Step #7: Assembling Your Cotton Candy Macarons

The final step is to pipe a small dab of cotton candy buttercream on one macaron shell and top it with a second shell.

Then place the finished macarons in the fridge to mature overnight and bring them to room temperature the next day then enjoy!

image of pink cotton candy macarons filled with cotton candy buttercream

Troubleshooting Cotton Candy Macarons

I’d love to think everyone’s first batch of macarons will turn out perfectly but my own experience has taught me that’s not how things usually go.

Macarons can be incredibly temperamental and it might take a few tries to get them just right.

If you run into any issues please check out my detailed French macaron troubleshooting guide.

Choosing The Right Filling for Your Cotton Candy Macarons

Almost all of the flavor in a macaron comes from its filling. The shell gives the macarons an incredible texture, but the filling is what determines its flavor.

image of cotton candy macarons filled with cotton candy buttercream

I have a big sweet tooth, so I like to add a bit of cotton candy extract or emulsion to my american buttercream. You can adjust the amount of extract you add based on your taste preferences and the strength of the extract that you use.

If you don’t want your macarons to be super sweet, I recommend using Italian buttercream or Swiss meringue frosting as your frosting base. You can also add cotton candy extract to a white chocolate ganache.

Recipe Yield

This recipe makes about 36 macaron shells, which can be used to make 18 macarons. You can double or triple this recipe to make more macarons if needed.

The yield and bake time will also vary based on the size of macarons you pipe. I pipe my shells with a diameter of about 1 1/4 inches.

image of baked cotton candy colored macaron shells

Tips for Making the Best Cotton Candy Macarons

  • Wipe your mixing bowl and whisk with lemon juice or vinegar to remove any traces of grease before making your meringue. It will help your egg whites whip up better!
  • Separate your own eggs and age them if possible! Do not use egg whites from a carton.
  • Measure your ingredients in grams with a kitchen scale! You really need to be precise with this recipe and your macarons will turn out best if the ingredients are weighed.
  • Carefully read through the directions before making these macarons. There are quite a few steps and it’s good to know your game plan before you start!
  • Use a macaron mat or print out a template to help you pipe consistently sized macarons.
  • FIRMLY bang/drop your pans on your counter after piping your macarons. This helps release any air bubbles that may be trapped and prevent cracked or hollow shells.
  • Rest your macarons for 30 minutes before they’re baked to allow them to develop a skin.
  • Pipe a small number of macarons on a few sheets to test your oven for hot spots and to see if it bakes accurately. This way you won’t waste a whole tray of macs if your oven runs hot or cold.
  • Let your macarons mature! Letting them rest overnight while they are filled softens them (in a good way) and allows the flavors to develop.
  • If your first batch of macarons doesn’t turn out, please check out my macaron troubleshooting guide.
image of cotton candy macarons stacked on each other

Making These Cotton Candy Macarons in Advance & Storage Tips

  • You need to let French macarons mature for a few hours or overnight in the fridge before eating them. This gives them their best texture and taste.
  • Store macarons at room temperature for up to 2 days in an airtight container.
  • Refrigerate macarons for up to 5 days in an airtight container.
  • Freeze filled macarons for up to a month in an airtight container.
  • Unfilled macaron shells can be frozen for up to a month in an airtight container.
  • Make your filling ahead of time too or save any leftover filling! It can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week or in the freezer for up to a month.

Let Me Know What You Think!

If you try this recipe for cotton candy macarons, I’d love to hear what think of it! Please leave a rating and let me know your thoughts by sharing a comment.

You can also tag me @chelsweets and use the #chelsweets on social media so that I can see your amazing creations!

Other Recipes You Might Like:

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    French Macarons
  • Italian Macarons
  • Pumpkin Macarons
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    Nutella Macarons

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