A great ingredient for the kitchen, this well flavoured sugar is excellent used when making cakes and biscuits, imparting a subtle aniseed flavour to the finished bake.
Star anise has strong flavour and a little goes a long way. I often pop on into the pan for about 20 minutes when I make gravy, or into a casserole for a subtle flavour enhancer, but I also like to use it in my baking when I want a natural aniseed flavour.
Whole star anise added to sugar will infuse the sugar with its aniseed flavour, as vanilla pods will. I tend to leave them whole but for a speedier star anise sugar I have whizzed them up in a blender.
The sugar is made up in seconds but needs a few weeks for the flavour to develop when using.
I also like using this star anise sugar in macarons, giving the aniseed flavour to the shells. My recipe for orange and star anise macarons is here.
If using this sugar in a cake or in biscuits (it is wonderful in shortbread, for example), you can simply replace the normal sugar used in the recipe with this star anise sugar.
If you want an even more subtle flavour, go for half and half with this sugar and the sugar in the recipe.
It also works well using icing sugar or powdered sugar.
Recipe: star anise sugar – makes 500g
- 500g caster sugar
- 4 whole star anise (you can add more if you want more potency!)
- 1 large jar with a tight-fitting lid
Pop the star anise into a jar of caster sugar, put the lid on and give it a shake. Leave it for a few weeks before using it. You can top it up with sugar as you use it.
NB: you can break the star anise up if you want to, or even blitz them with the sugar for a speedier flavoured sugar (before passing through a fine sieve) but leaving them whole makes it easier to use straight from the jar without getting chunks of star anise into a cake or biscuit mixture!