Friday, June 28, 2013

Liquorice Macarons

Your search of the perfect French macaron ends here, with this Italian-inspired recipe. 
Macarons are notorious for making even the best bakers cry. I, myself, have shed many a tear while sitting on my kitchen floor in the dim light of my oven whilst peering through the warm glass while praying that my macarons would make feet. If my relationship with macarons was on Facebook, my status would be set to 'it's complicated' but hey, that doesn't stop me from dating them (totally normal analogy I just used there, by the way).

On my brother's last visit, his Milanese girlfriend brought me a beautiful black glossy bottle of Italian liquorice liqueur. The bottle was so gorgeous I simply had to create something that was just as jet black - enter the liquorice macaron with black sesame seeds. I added the sesame seeds because Italian boyfriend brought me 1kg of them the other day (he brings me foodie things in leu of flowers). And yes, our family obviously has a thing for Italians.  

Liquorice is one of those tricky flavours, like banana, that people either love or hate. There are no in-betweeners. Apparently 53% of people don't like it (and 66% of people who don't sleep on their side don't like the treat either - yes, you needed to know that) and although scientists have tried to figure out why, they've agreed it probably comes down to how you were brought up. If liquorice Allsorts were a regular part of your family's sweetie tin then you're probably a fan and it's no biggie. But if you don't care for the treat, then by all means, omit it from the recipe and replace it with whatever other liqueur takes your fancy! 

Liquorice macarons with black sesame
Makes 25

120g ground almonds
200g icing sugar
3 tbsp black sesame seeds, crushed into a paste
100g egg whites (about 3 large eggs)
1/4tsp cream of tartar
35g white sugar
black gel food colouring

Liquorice ganache
60ml cream 
250g white chocolate, chopped
40ml liquorice liqueur

Line 2-3 baking sheets with baking paper.
Sift together the ground almonds and icing sugar to remove any clumps. Blend any leftover mixture then sift again until nothing remains. 
Begin beating the egg whites and cream of tartar on low speed. Once the egg whites are very foamy, begin sprinkling in the sugar as you beat. Increase the speed to medium, if necessary, and beat the meringue to stiff glossy peaks. Beat in the sesame paste and black colouring until desired shade. 
Add about 1/4 of the almond/sugar mixture and fold until no streaks remain. Continue to add the almond mixture in quarters, folding until incorporated. 
Pour the batter into a piping bag fitted with a fluted nozzle and pipe rows of batter onto the baking sheets, giving them space to spread. Tap the pan on the counter to bring up any air bubbles and quickly pop them with a toothpick.
Allow the cookies to rest on a level surface for 30-60 minutes until they are no longer tacky to a light touch. 
While they rest, place an oven rack in the lower 3rd of your oven and preheat to 150C. 
Bake the cookies, one tray at a time, for 16-20 minutes.
Make the ganache by heating the cream until just simmering. Pour over the white chocolate and stir until melted then stir in the liqueur and colouring. Allow to set until spreadable.
Sandwich the macarons together with the ganache. 


  1. I hate liquorice..but these look so good!!!

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  3. These look so good! However, how do you manage to get them so black? What kind of colouring are you using?
    My (and many other's too) macarons get grey instead of black.

    1. Hi There, to get an inky black colour you must use gel coloring. I use a shade called 'super black' any other kind like powder or liquid colouring will turn grey. Hope that helps!