These punchy macarons are far too easy to eat and when dipped in dark chocolate with a grating of orange zest they are sure to liven up the palate.
The flavours of orange and star anise go so well together and these two flavours with a sweet macaron are, I think, a marriage made in Heaven!
Star anise sugar
Star anise has strong flavour and a little goes a long way. Given it can be tricky to introduce flavours into the macaron shells without adversely affecting the mixture, I used star anise sugar in place of caster sugar in the macaron recipe.
Just as when making vanilla sugar, all you need to do is pop a few star anise (whole or broken up) into a jar of caster sugar, put the lid on and give it a shake. You then just leave it for a few weeks before using it.
The star anise will infuse the sugar with its aniseed flavour.
This star anise sugar gives the macarons a subtle flavour of star anise so when you bite into a whole macaron with the more in-your-face orange filling, you get a full-on flavour explosion in your mouth.
Alternatively, you can take a whole star anise and crush it to as fine a powder as you can and add a little of this to the macaron mixture at the start (when you whisk up the egg whites and sugar). No more than a quarter of a teaspoon for about 100g caster sugar.
How to make fool-proof macarons
Macarons are known for being tricky – and they indeed challenging things to make, with many elements that can go wrong.
But this should not put you off making them: excellent macarons are quite hard to find – unless you are fortunate to have a specialist macaron shop nearby. Even then, they are ridiculously expensive to buy.
However, once you’ve mastered macarons, you can create your own flavour combinations easily.
My recipe for making perfect macarons is here. It has full step-by-step instructions, along with top tips and recipes for other flavour macarons.
Whenever I have used this recipe when teaching macarons, it has worked 100% of the time for me and for my “students”. giving smooth, non-hollow macarons with their characteristic feet around the base.
Quick fruity filling:
I have used one of my go-to macaron fillings: fruit curd and chocolate! This time I went dairy-free and used:
- 200g dairy-free orange curd
- 120g melted dairy-free dark chocolate
I didn’t add any star anise to flavour to the filling as it can be too over-powering, especially given the flavour of the star anise already in the macaron shells.
You simply beat the curd and the chocolate together to give a thick fruit chocolate. It is ready to use straight away.
If you haven’t got any orange curd, you can use lemon curd and grate in some orange zest along with beating in the juice of 1 orange. I would increase the chocolate to about 150g.
These macarons are great just sandwiched together with the filling, but I went for one of my frequent decorative tricks again by dipping the shells in dark chocolate.
I sprinkled over some finely grated orange zest to add extra an extra orange zing to the macarons.
Once filled, keep them in the fridge and eat within to 3-4 days. The chocolate might bloom in the cold of the fridge but it doesn’t affect the flavour.
A few of my friends liked the random swirl of the blooming on the macarons, thinking it was part of my design….oh it was, I told them!
The filled macarons also freeze beautifully: with or without the chocolate on top.