Mad about A Macaron Croquembouche

              Macaron Croquembouche

The Occasion
H’s birthday was this past weekend, but he didn’t want me slaving away in the kitchen to make him a birthday cake, insisting that I get some much needed rest during the New Year weekend because I’d been sleeping poorly the past 2 weeks.

Fortunately, I’d made a batch of macaron on New Year’s eve on a whim and decided to assemble a macaron tower for him instead! It would be experimental, but at least he would have some sort of a birthday dessert. Plus it would be way grander than any birthday cake if it worked out. :)

The Experiment
I’d always wanted to make a macaron croquembouche, but was concerned about a few things.

1. What to use for the cone base
2. How to attach the macarons to the cone
3. Whether the macarons would stay in place, given the weight of the fillings
4. Whether the macaron fillings would turn soft and melt before all the macarons had been attached

The Results
Concern #1 was easily resolved with a homemade cardboard cone covered with baking parchment paper. I’d originally considered using a styrofoam cone, but had no idea where to buy one.

I decided to go with caramel as the “glue” since traditional cream puff croquembouches are so constructed. I started attaching the macarons at the bottom and was really delighted when the 1st layer appeared to stick on to the cone really well. What I hadn’t counted on was the caramel not hardening well.

              Macaron Croquembouche Closeup

As it turned out, concern #3 was also a valid one, especially since the macarons in the upper layers began to slide downwards, resting on the bottom layers when the caramel started to soften, possibly from the condensation from the macarons, which had been refridgerated prior to being attached to the cone, or perhaps from a poorly made caramel.

Despite the air-conditioning being turned on, the macaron fillings also started to melt somewhat. This was particularly true of the buttercream fillings. I had originally contemplated filling the macarons with a simple jam filling to overcome the melting issue, but didn’t want to spend hours making the shells, only to end up with overly-sweet macarons that would then be unpleasant to eat.

And so it was that H’s birthday croquembouche stayed intact for a grand total of 10 minutes before I decided to take everything down, mainly because the assembled croquembouche was too tall to fit into my fridge and the bottom layers were getting squashed from the weight of the other layers sliding down and resting on them. I was miffed that many of my painstakingly-made macarons were now either somewhat squashed, smeared with sticky, non-hardened caramel on one side or had part of their delicate outer shells left hanging on the cone when I attempted to remove them. Fortunately, they still tasted good and H didn’t mind in the tiniest bit, especially since his favourite chocolate ones had remained intact.

Experiments to come
I’m determined to try this again some other time and I’ve got some other ideas on how to better attach the macarons to the cone (reducing the amount of macaron filling being one of them and possibly using only ganache), but I’d love to hear from you if you’ve got any suggestions on how to solve the problems I encountered!

35 Responses to “Mad about A Macaron Croquembouche”

  1. Evan Says:

    hi karen, despite the problems you encountered, its a beautiful croquembouche nonetheless! and i’ve always loved yr macarons since day 1.

    i made a failed one sometime back and i got the styrofoam cone from artfriend, ngee ann city. like you, i used parchment paper to line the cone but i don’t think its a very good idea coz its waxy. i also tried using caramel but it hardened too quickly therefore i keep having to reheat it and i ended up having burnt caramel instead so i probably wouldn’t use caramel again. what about using melted/tempered chocolate? that might work. basically my biggest problem is not being able to get macarons in the same size despite using templates. i guess it might be the pressure i’m piping those rounds. and when i don’t get macarons in the same size, i ended up with ugly gaps on the croquembouche. so many problems, but like you i’m determined to try again. except that if i can’t make macarons in similar sizes i may hv to make alot just to choose the uniformed looking ones out of so many.

    i’m sure yr next attempt will be better, keep trying :)

  2. Josephine Says:

    hi there,

    ur macaron was so tempting!!
    i was in love when i 1st look at it.
    the pastry u done seems like a full time baker.
    can u teach mii how to do macaron?
    or can u e-mail mii the recipe?
    cause i’m a person who love eating pastry [love macaron lots] and love baking.

    ur regard,
    Josephine =p

  3. Astrid Says:

    Oh I hear your frustration! I read on a French blog that you can use toothpicks to hold the macarons in place. Of course this was on a styrofoam cone.
    Good luck with your next attempt!

  4. Karen Says:

    Evan: Thank you for your compliment!

    Thanks for the tip on where to get a styrofoam cone. I had the same sentiment about the baking parchment, but I also think it was because of the caramel, which hardened quickly in the pot. I added a tiny amount of water to the hardened caramel before reheating, so that might have affected it.

    Yes, it’s not easy to make uniformly sized macarons. I think if the cone is large enough, the gaps are not as obvious. =)

    I’m definitely looking forward to seeing your next croquembouche attempt. =)

    Josephine: Thanks! I can give you some tips on macaron making if you like.

    Astrid: Thank you very much for the suggestion to use toothpicks. I only read about it after I’d made this croquembouche. It’s one of the ideas that I’m planning to try next. =)

  5. Stef Says:

    excellent work Karen…how about using a dab of royal icing to secure macarons on?
    it does harden rather quickly!

  6. Karen Says:

    Thanks, Stef! I did actually consider royal icing, but was not sure if the condensation from the macarons would be a problem. I guess I’ll just have to try it out some time. :)

  7. kekstester Says:

    Wow! I would be glad, if I’d managed to make such wonderful macaron croquembouche once in my entire life :-)

  8. Judi DeLorenzo Says:

    Just started a little cookie company a year ago….named after my grandmother Cora…she taught me how to bake…do you share recipes ? I have been searching for the grandmother did not make those…I love your style…thanking you in advance if you do…..and forever grateful Judi D

  9. lyndsay Says:

    hi! such a lovely macaron tower… i think it turned out beautiful and delicious looking despite the frustrating bits. good on you for experimenting! i was going to suggest the toothpick thing, just as a comment above did. i can’t wait to try making one of these too. they are just SO CUTE!

    thanks for sharing!
    lyndsay :)

  10. Avanika (Yumsilicious Bakes) Says:

    Wow!! That’s simply amazing.. So sorry it didn’t work out.. Waiting to see how you perfect this! Because the tower is simply breath-taking, it must be done :)

  11. Jennie Says:

    Hi! Wow the macarons look fantastic! Do you by any chance cater for events? Please could you contact me?Where are you based?



  12. Sharayah Says:

    Your work is absolutely spectacular. I would love it if you would make some creations for my upcoming June wedding. Please let me know if you are interested. Thanks.

  13. Lilly Higgins Says:

    This would be amazing for a wedding, well done! Its so beautiful, I’ve never seen a macaron croquembouche. I spent an incredibly frustrating day making a nativity scene from gingerbread this christmas, i was so thrilled when it was finished though. I had an unbelievable amount of icing sticking the whole thing together. I feel your pain!x

  14. Joy Says:

    Hey Karen, I absolutely adore your macarons. I got to taste it once when my friend ordered it but I believed you have stopped taking orders? I am considering macarons as wedding favours. Do let me know if you are interested. And if you do teach or don’t mind sharing tips on making macarons, I would love to learn from you! Cheers. =)

  15. Ivy Chong Says:

    Hi Karen, I loved how pretty and delicious all your pastries looked! I was wondering if you take in any orders? I will be having a small, intimate wedding in Sep this year, and have been looking for a Croquembouche, which everyone will enjoy eating it with us. Please let me know if you could help. Thank you :)

  16. Amie Dolton Says:

    Any chance you could give me the recipe for the caramel salt ones :) I love the laduree ones

  17. Brenda Lam Says:

    Do you conduct classes on macarons baking? I would like to learn to bake them. Pls contact me if you do.

  18. Celine Says:

    Hi, i am wondering would you be able to teach me how to bake macaroons? I simply love them. it’s so pretty and sweet.


  19. Andrea Boudewijn Says:

    Hi All, I’m about to attach macarons to the side of a wedding cake (a la Martha Stewart), and I’ll give the toothpick+royal icing treatment a go. My two concerns are 1) That the toothpicks will break and sort of “shatter” the cookie, and 2) that the royal icing will show. I know I only need a little to cement the cookie in place. I’ll publish pix on my site! ( Thanks all!

  20. Noe Says:

    Hey! I´m from Argentina, found your blog through bakerella´s links.
    I work as a patissier and build macarons towers. What works best for me is styrofoam cone + wooden skewers. No caramel, no royal icing, just pin the skewers to the cone and the macarons to the skewers. The fillings that work best for me are chocolate ganaches (specially the ones with bitter chocolate, they tend to be a bit harder than the sweetend chocolate ones). We also use dulce de leche repostero (a stiffer version of regular dulce de leche) -but, probably, would taste overly sweet for people that didn´t grew up eating it straight from the pot ;) -

    Lovely blog.



  21. Cristina Says:

    Hi Karen,
    I was wondering if you could send me information about your classes, where do you teach? can you send me a schedule? I would really like to learn how to make macarons :-)

  22. jun Says:

    Hi Karen,

    I was wondering if you are opening any classes? As i would be interested to learn how to make macarons.


  23. peppermeat Says:

    Hi there,

    I would like to order about 30-50 pieces of Macaron from you. May I ask what is the price range like? Is it possible for me to get the macarons by 26th May as I need to give as farewell gifts for my colleagues. Feel free to contact me at 9339 9082. Awaiting your reply.

    Much thanks,

  24. Lina Says:

    Hello from Croatia!

    Yesterday I discovered your blog. Andddd… I love it, you are my new muse! Really!
    Your work is perfect…. I’m so happy :)))


  25. Ruth Says:

    Hi, I understand you concern about attaching the macarons. The top ones are always a problem. I have tried using chocolate ganache with similar results that you had with them falling off. I have heard that using toothpicks can help. I think I will also be trying italian meringue as an adhesive. I am curious to know if you have revisited this project and what results you have had. Thanks!

  26. Lingy Says:

    That looks just beautiful :-) Every pastry chef is doing the macaron croquembouche since mid last year? I bake some myself, hah, and you’re definitely giving me some ideas already :-) Would sure have to try to avoid making the macaron croquembouche during summer hehe.
    Job well done!!!

  27. parisbreakfasts Says:

    Laduree uses just toothpicks..
    I left a pic on yr Flickr shot of these..
    I’d much rather have caramel though…

  28. Felicia Says:

    Hi Karen,

    I’ve been such a big follower of your blog. Your treats are all so beautiful!

    I have a cousin from Australia who’s coming down in September to celebrate her birthday and she’s really passionate about baking too. I’ve been thinking about a nice birthday treat for her and I think she’d really love to learn to make macarons. Any chance you’d be willing to hold a private class on a Sunday in September? It would be awesome.

    Mail me to let me know either way :)

  29. Victoria Says:

    Hello there,

    I immediately googled macaron upon tasting my first macaron. And i’m so happy to have stumbled upon your blog.

    I would love to learn how to make macarons. Do you by any chance have lessons or a recipe to share?

  30. Annapet Says:

    Beautiful though! Learning from your experience as I plan to build my first macaron tower this week. I have the foam base from the craft store. Will use toothpicks.

  31. Theresa Says:

    Go to Michaels, by a styrofoam cone, wrap it with Colored foil ( used for cake board coverings) and attach the macaron with toothpicks anchored in the styrofoam. Voila!

  32. Lydia Says:

    Hi there, may I know if you take orders for the Macarons… how can i direct contact you. Email, hp, Facebook?

  33. themacaronqueen Says:

    Beautiful macarons! I’m doing research on building a macaron tower as well. I’ve seen other blogs using chocolate icing.

    How thick was the cardboard that you used? I’m not sure if they come in different thickness and I don’t want them to collapse on me :o

    Great post. I’ll definitely be following :)

  34. Mary Says:

    i’m also looking for a way to assemble a tower and i stumbled upon your blog. my question is, if using caramel or icing, would it make it harder for us to take off the macaron when we want to eat it? because it’ll be really hard by then… correct me if i’m wrong :)

  35. Natacha Steven Says:

    I love your blog!!

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