Liquorice macarons

You know those flavours that you either love or hate?  Well, I think liquorice is one of them.  I fall in the former camp.  I am a liquorice fan through and through.

As a child, I remember my mother carefully guarding an occasional box of Bassett’s liquorice allsorts that she would buy from the (unfortunately now non-existent) food hall at David Jones here in Brisbane city.

I was not setting out to create a liquorice flavoured macaron.  My initial list for the wedding favor trials consists of champagne, blueberry, matcha and lime-basil.  But after a hiccup or two, an opportunity presented itself.  Yet another batch of macarons. 

Being a liquorice lover, I have some liquorice flavoured tea in the pantry.  I was staring at the tea and had a flashback to some Earl Grey truffles I made last Christmas.  With a batch of light blue coloured macaron shells just screaming for some filling, I knew what I had to make.

After gently warming some cream, I added a couple of tablespoons of the liquorice tea.  I left that infuse then strained well.  I then proceeded to make a dark chocolate ganache.  The resulting flavour is noticeably liquorice-y but subtle.  It has a refreshing finish that marries perfectly with the cool blue shell.

I am not sure if these will make it to the wedding (the Champagne macarons are currently top of the list!), but I have enjoyed making and tasting them nonetheless.

For the shells, I used my standard macaron recipe, but I hope to actually trial a new version very soon!

{ Liquorice macarons }

* Ingredients *

100g egg whites
3g egg white powder
125g almond meal
125g icing sugar
Blue food colouring
For the syrup:
150g sugar and 50ml water

* Directions *

Process the almond meal and icing sugar together.  In a mixer, whip half the egg whites to soft peaks.  Meanwhile, in a saucepan bring the water and sugar for the syrup to 117C (or 242F) on a candy thermometer.  Once ready, slowly add the boiling syrup to the egg whites and continue to whip on medium speed until they thick and shiny and are completely cooled (about 10 minutes).  At the final changes of whipping the meringue, add the food colouring.  Mix the remaining egg whites to the sifted almond mixture and fold into the meringue in four parts.

Pipe macarons on lined baking sheets. Double up your baking sheets if you do not have professional grade quality.  Let your macarons sit at room temperature for 30-60 minutes. Bake at 140C or 280F for 15-18 minutes.  Fill with ganache or filling of your choice.  Refrigerate to set.

{ Liquorice cream }

* Ingredients *

120g dark chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons liquorice tea

* Directions *

Heat cream and tea until bubbles form around the edge of the pan.  Let cool and rest for about an hour.  Strain the tea from the cream.  Reheat the cream gently and pour over the chocolate.  Let sit for 2-3 minutes and then stir.  Let cool then transfer to the refrigerator to thicken.