Hangzhou Spark Macarons

One of the new expansion teams, not many people knew what to expect from Hangzhou Spark. They swept into the first few games, overwhelming the competition and capturing the hearts of quite a few fans. Their bright, feminine colors didn’t hurt their appeal, either. They’ve tapered off a bit the last few games, but they’re still exciting to watch!

Hangzhou Spark Macarons

If you haven’t read the Boston Uprising Macaron post and recipe, please go do that now. I go into quite a bit of detail on how to make a macaron in it, the processes and the tricks. I’m not going to go through those things again, in order to make a shorter, more concise post, and a much easier read. So please, I’m begging you, go read that post!

Let’s start with the shells! One egg contains about 30 grams of whites, so this recipe will take about 3.5 eggs. Separate your egg whites from your yolks, placing the yolks in a separate bowl (to be used for the curd later) and place the whites in the bowl of a stand mixer. Add a whisk attachment (or use a bowl and hand whisk and watch as your arm falls off) and turn on the speed, slowly bringing it up to high. Continue to whisk until the eggs are frothy, then add all the cream of tartar at once. Continue whisking until the eggs start to form soft peaks.

At this point add the sugar. You can either do it the fancy way, one tablespoon at a time, but I just add the sugar around the bowl (not all in one spot) and continue to whisk on high until stiff peaks form. These peaks should not, under any circumstance, fall over if you tip the bowl or the whisk upside down. You want the meringue completely stiff (though not overwhipped. It’s a fine line). In order to make sure it’s not overwhipped, just watch it. As soon as it’s thick, shiny, and holding stiff peaks it’s ready. The entire process should take between 8-10 minutes, depending on your mixer.

Mix together the dry ingredients. You really need to mix with your hands here. Add all the powdered sugar and almond flour to a bowl and stir with your fingers. As you’re mixing be sure to rub all the large almond chunks out of the mixture. These will completely screw up your batter, so we definitely don’t want them in there.

Now we start the macaronage – the hard part. Add about 1/3 of the dry ingredients and the food coloring to the meringue. Now gently fold by passing your spatula down the center of the bowl, scraping around all the edges, and around the bottom, finishing by folding that scraped-up portion back over itself. Down the center, around the edge, flip over. Repeat that process until the batter resembles lava. While you’re folding you should be trying to push a lot of the air out of the batter. To remove it simply push the batter up against the side of the bowl prior to you reaching the correct consistency. This video will maybe hopefully help you to see the proper consistency (even though it’s Uprising colors)!

Fill a piping bag fit with a large round tip with your batter. Pipe a big blob in one spot on a piece of parchment paper or silicone mat, trying to keep your piping pressure consistent. To get equal size circles you can either find a good template online or simply count the seconds you’re expelling your batter. The second method won’t be perfect, but it’ll be easier and close enough! It’s my favorite method.

Once all the macarons are piped simply bang the baking sheet on the counter a few times to remove any air that remains and allow them to sit out at room temperature for 30 minutes. This will allow a good skin to form on the macaron.

When the macarons are almost done resting preheat your oven. When it’s done preheating bake one sheet at a time on the middle rack for 12-15 minutes, or until completely baked.

After the macarons are baked leave them on your baking sheet until they’re completely cool. Then transfer them to a wire rack and prepare your fillings!

Bring water to a simmer in a small pot. Zest a grapefruit into a stainless steel or glass bowl that will fit in the rim of the pot. Juice the grapefruit, leaving the pulp but removing any pith (the white parts) and any seeds. Add the sugar and whisk until thoroughly combined. Add the egg and yolk and whisk together. Once you add the eggs, whisk continuously to prevent the sugar from “cooking” the yolks.

Put the bowl over the simmering water and whisk until the curd thickens. It’ll happen around 180F. The curd will thicken, feel sluggish, and stick to the whisk and side of the bowl. When this happens, remove the bowl from the simmering pan and add the butter all at once. Whisk until the butter is incorporated and then allow to cool until the curd reaches room temperature. You can speed this up by putting the bowl in the fridge and whisk from time to time to release the heat.

Now to make the Swiss Meringue Buttercream. Separate your eggs whites from your yolks, add the sugar to the whites, place them in a stainless steel or glass bowl, and put them back over the double boiler we had for the curd. Whisk until the mixture reaches 160F to kill any potential Salmonella.

When the correct temperature is reached add the whites to the bowl of a stand mixer and whisk on high until the bowl starts to feel cool and the mixture gets thick and shiny. At this point you’ll start adding the room temperature butter, one tablespoon at a time. Once the butter in completely added, continue whisking until it becomes thick and smooth.

Add all the vanilla, coconut milk, and the blue gel food coloring. Continue whisking until the buttercream comes back together. It’ll feel like it splits again, but be patient, it’ll come together, and get thick and creamy.

Now, all the elements are made! It’s time for assembly.

Match up the macaron shells to size. Turn one side over to prepare for adding the buttercream and the curd. Add the buttercream to a piping bag and pipe a ring on the outside of the shell. Fill the center of the ring with the curd. Now cover with the other shell and make a sandwich.

And now for my favorite brainchild so far! These Spark macarons needed a little… spark. So once everything is assembles open the packages of Pop Rocks, place it in a pile on a plate, and roll the macarons in the Pop Rocks. They’ll stick to the buttercream and make a fantastic addition to presentation and flavor! Just make sure you only coat the macarons right before you serve/eat them. The Pop Rocks react with the buttercream and start to lose their spark.

One thing to note about macarons – they taste significantly better the next day. Everything looks so pretty you’ll be tempted to eat it right away. Don’t! Make these the day before you want them and then enjoy them the right way. When you let macarons sit the shells soak up some of the flavor from the fillings, making them seems more tender and less sweet. It’s worth the wait!

Hangzhou Spark Macarons

  • Servings: about 16 2 inch macarons
  • Difficulty: difficult
  • Print

Grapefruit and coconut macarons rolled in Pop Rocks, inspired by the Hangzhou Spark

Macaron

  • 100 grams egg whites
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 75 grams sugar
  • 135 grams almond flour
  • 125 grams powdered sugar
  • pink gel food coloring

Grapefruit

  • 98 grams grapefruit juice (about 2 medium grapefruit)
  • 85 grams sugar
  • 25 grams salted butter, room temperature
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk

Coconut

  • 75 grams egg whites
  • 75 grams sugar
  • 143 grams salted butter, room temperature
  • 6 tablespoons full fat coconut milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • blue gel food coloring

Macaron

  1. Separate your egg whites from your yolks, reserving one yolk for the curd. Place the whites in the bowl of a stand mixer
  2. Add a whisk attachment to the stand mixer and slowly increase the speed, bringing it up to high.
  3. Whisk until the eggs are frothy and then add all the cream of tartar at once.
  4. Continue whisking until the eggs form soft peaks. Add the sugar around the bowl and continue to whisk on high until stiff peaks form. The meringue should be stiff and peaks should not fall if turned over. The entire process should take between 8-10 minutes, depending on your mixer.
  5. Measure all the powdered sugar and almond flour to a bowl and stir with your fingers. As you’re mixing be sure to rub all the large almond chunks out of the mixture.
  6. Add about 1/3 of the dry ingredients and the food coloring to the meringue. Gently fold the dry into the meringue by passing your spatula down the center of the bowl, scraping around the edges, finishing by folding that scraped-up portion back over itself. Repeat that process until the batter resembles lava or honey. While you’re folding remove the air by pushing the batter up against the side of the bowl.
  7. Fill a piping bag fit with a large round tip with your batter. Pipe in a steady stream onto one spot on a piece of parchment paper or silicone mat, trying to keep your piping pressure consistent. To get equal size circles either find a template online or count the seconds you’re expelling your batter.
  8. Once all the macarons are piped bang the baking sheet on the counter a few times to remove any air that remains and allow them to sit out at room temperature for 30 minutes.
  9. Preheat your oven to 320F. Bake, one sheet at a time, for 12-15 minutes. The shells should be stiff, the feet shouldn’t jiggle, and the top shouldn’t shift if gently moved.
  10. Leave the macarons on your baking sheet until they’re completely cool.

Grapefruit

  1. Create a double boiler by choosing a stainless steel or glass bowl that fits securely in the rim of a small pot. Add enough water to boil in the small pot, but ensure that the water level won’t touch the bottom of the bowl. It should be about 1-2 inches of water. Bring water to a simmer.
  2. Zest and juice the grapefruit, removing any seeds or pith, but leaving any flesh. Add the juice and zest to the chosen bowl and add the sugar. Whisk this together and add the yolk and whole egg.
  3. Put the bowl over the simmering water and whisk until the curd thickens. The curd will reach around 180F, will stick to the whisk, and feel thick.
  4. Remove the bowl from the simmering pan and add the butter all at once. Whisk until the butter is incorporated and then allow to cool until the curd reaches room temperature.

Coconut

  1. Separate your eggs whites from your yolks.
  2. Add your sugar to the whites.
  3. Place the bowl over a double boiler and whisk until the mixture reaches 160F.
  4. Whisk until the eggs reach a temperature of at least 160F, measured with a candy or instant-read thermometer.
  5. Add the whites to the bowl of a stand mixer and whisk on high until the bowl starts to feel cool and the mixture gets thick and shiny.
  6. Add the room temperature butter, one tablespoon at a time. In the process, the mixture will start to look curdled, but keep adding butter and keep whisking and it’ll become smooth and creamy again.
  7. When the buttercream is smooth and homogeneous add all the coconut milk, vanilla, and enough blue gel food coloring to change the color to bright baby blue. Continue whisking until the buttercream comes back together.

Macaron

  1. Match up the macaron shells to size. Turn one side over to prepare for adding the buttercream and the curd.
  2. Add the buttercream to a piping bag and pipe a ring on the outside of the shell.
  3. Fill the center of the ring with the grapefruit curd.
  4. Cover with the other shell and make a sandwich. Refrigerate overnight for best flavor.
  5. Place Pop Rocks in a pile on a plate.
  6. Roll the macarons in the Pop Rocks, coating the buttercream.

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