Colouring Macarons: Review of the Master Elite range

Before I start, let me premise this post by saying I am not affiliated with brands or products mentioned in this article.

I have been making macarons for a while now, but admit to still having my good and bad batches. A friend dubs them “devil cookies”, and for anyone out there that’s made macarons before, I’m sure you can understand why she calls them that.

I found I usually got worse batches when wanting deep, vibrant colours. The general rule of thumb for colouring macarons, is to use gel colours (my usual brand preference for gel colours is Americolor), as they are high in pigment but low in liquid content. Works extremely well for pastel colours, but when wanting vibrancy, the amount of gel I found I needed to use to get the colour, affected the consistency of my macaron batter and therefore end product.

I knew I needed to invest in some powder colours. After a lot of reading other people’s reviews on Facebook, I took the plunge and bought some Master Elite colours by The Sugar Art (at AU$8.95 a little container I admit it felt a little risky – what if it didn’t work for me?).

A few hints I’d come across for using the Master Elite powder range were:

  • the powders are liquid-activated, so stir in the powder into the liquid egg whites and wait at least 30 minutes (or overnight) before using [note for reference: the recipe I use contains 60g egg whites]
  • a little bit goes a long way – most colours only need 1/8 teaspoon per batch of macarons
  • be really careful not to drop any on the bench or onto anything you don’t want stained!

I started my experimenting with Emerald Green. For my first batch, I did a light sprinkle of the powder into the liquid egg whites and found that it turned dark straight away. I didn’t want to overdo it, so I stopped adding more and proceeded to let the colour activate while I prepped everything else (following my preferred Swiss method).

When it came time to whipping the egg whites, I found within a minute or so, the colour began to fade. By the time the meringue was fully whipped, what I thought was going to be a deep, vibrant green, ended up a pale green. Keep this in mind – you won’t really know the end macaron colour from what you see at the liquid egg whites stage! What you see in the picture above was in a follow up attempt where I added 1/8 teaspoon to the liquid egg whites. The same amount worked well or the Sapphire Sky blue colour (perfect for Cookie Monster macarons ;-)), and also for Violet.

It seriously BLEW MY MIND when I saw just how well the powder colours worked! Suddenly, my concern about how wise was my investment decision dissipated, and I found myself bragging about my macarons to anyone asking in macarons groups for colour recommendations lol they really are well worth every cent.

But what about the dreaded red and black, I hear you asking? Well, I did experiments with those too!

As you can see above, the Red Rose colour also works brilliantly. In this instance, I pre-coloured the egg whites for a couple hours with 1/4 teaspoon. When the meringue was close to being done, I wasn’t quite 100% happy with the red, so added a small amount of Americolor Super Red. It was enough to ensure I got the red colour I wanted, without compromising the macaron batter with too much added liquid. For future runs, I think 1/3 or 1/2 teaspoon of red powder would be sufficient.

I was also really impressed with the Black! Although fair warning: there is a reason why the Black is sold in bigger containers lol In my first experimental run (pictured above), I went with 1 teaspoon and after whipping the meringue, found that it was a dark grey. So I added a decent squirt of Americolor Super Black to achieve the black macarons in this picture. Again, it was just enough to get the black I wanted, and because it wasn’t too much liquid added, it didn’t compromise the macarons like it would have if I used all liquid gel. I think 1.25-1.5 teaspoons of Master Elite powder would be enough to achieve black-black macarons without the need for extra Americolor gel paste assistance.

All in all, I highly rate the Master Elite by The Sugar Art powder colours for colouring macarons. A little bit really does go a long way for most of the colours, so well worth the price. If you are located in Australia and wanting to give them a try for yourself, you can buy them from Miss Biscuit.

The Beginning of a Sweet Journey

At the beginning of this year I started a new day job which is the main reason why I have not resumed taking custom cake orders as I had originally anticipated I would. I wanted to give myself the time and energy to give 100% focus on my day job. While you wouldn’t think that making cakes would take a lot of time, it isn’t just the cakes that does, it is running the business. Answering SMS’s and calls, replying to Facebook messages and emails, providing quotes and customer service. I find myself getting home from work of a Friday afternoon and I am done. I use the weekend to recharge now, rather than staying up until at least midnight every night, trying to get business tasks done after my son goes to bed.

During this down time, it’s given me an opportunity to reflect on my business – where it started, and where it is going. I thought while I am not completely flat out, it might be fun to blog about my Sweet Journey thus far. Possibly it will only be me that reads back on these posts in the future, reminiscing of this wonderful time of my life where I was blessed enough to offer such Sweet Creations to the people of Canberra. While I am not currently selling custom cakes, I still see new followers and likers to my Facebook page – it is such a humbling and flattering feeling knowing there are people out there, even other baking businesses, that think my work and page is worthy enough to follow!

I thought I would share a few of my inspirations – particularly those that sparked my interest to explore more into cake making!

My Cupcake Addiction

I cashed in on an Aldi sale where they were selling piping kits for $12.99. I had no clue what I was doing with these tips, nor even knew a suitable recipe for buttercream, but I was willing to give it a go. I headed to YouTube and searched for a buttercream recipe and landed on Elise Strachan’s My Cupcake Addiction.

And it was from here that I started exploring her other videos and fell in love with the idea of cupcake and cake making – her work is so creative and she makes it achievable for everyone to follow with her step-by-step instructions.

How To Cake It

It didn’t take long before I wanted to pursue something a little more complicated – so I thought I would attempt to make a 3D BB8 cake for my son’s 3rd birthday. Off to Google I went to find a suitable tutorial, and stumbled across Yolanda Gampp’s How To Cake It.

Again, I continued to explore her other videos and woooow, she is so talented! And I really love her style in presenting the instructional videos – she has a wicked sense of humour and keeps it real.

Texas Cake House

I love love love watching cooking shows (SBS Food Network is one of my go-to’s), and on one occasion they had a theme month of cakes and bakes. Lo and behold, I was introduced to Texas Cake House. Oh. My. Lord. Natalie Sideserf of Sideserf Cakes is quite simply put – my cake idol.

It was actually through watching her make these stunning creations that I learned how to construct some of the cake structures that I’ve needed for some of my more elaborate 3D structured cakes. She is definitely in the category of cake artist, and a true inspiration that always leaves my jaw dropped with her cake creations.

Christmas Mini High Tea

We all know what Christmas lunch is like, feeling as stuffed as the turkey and feeling rather regretful as we try make it through the afternoon without falling asleep lol I usually offer up Christmas desserts, this year I decided to do a mini high tea. Light little desserts that wouldn’t weigh you down!

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On the menu:

  • Vanilla macarons
  • Salted caramel macarons
  • Chocolate mudcake santas
  • Shortbread
  • Meringue nests
  • A shot of salted caramel Baileys irish cream

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