“Macarons should be eaten slowly with each mouthful savoured. They should be eaten somewhere pretty and refined.”
Yellow Magpie

Blood Orange Macarons with Maple Orange Chocolate Pastry Creme Nothing in the cookie world seems to have evoked as much interest and admiration as macarons! Sweet and pretty bites, inspirational to make, absolutely charming, yet intimidating for bakers like me. At MacTweets, our mac-obsessed kitchen, Jamie and I called to mark World Macaron Day on March 20th. These Blood Orange Macarons with Maple Orange Chocolate Pastry Creme are my tribute to this delightful invention!Blood Orange Macarons with Maple Orange Chocolate Pastry Creme I’ve missed making macarons for a while now and was happy to be faced with a MacTweets challenge for World Macaron Day. Been thinking long on what to make and what not to, and then thanks to sweet blogger friends like the lovely and talented Shayma, I made these addictive bites. They might not look perfect, but they tasted fabulous!Blood Orange Macarons with Maple Orange Chocolate Pastry Creme Life is busy and we have had family and friends from overseas visiting us over the past few months. They all know I food blog, so with them come delicious ingredients and kitchen stuff I might not ever dream of. I feel special … very special!Blood Orange Macarons with Maple Orange Chocolate Pastry Creme …and felt even more so when a few days ago the Spice Spoon girl tweeted to ask when my folk were visiting as she had something to send for me. My cousin from Pittsburgh flew in a few days later. With him came these beautiful spice boxes from William Sonoma – Dried Blood Orange Peel and Pure Maple Flakes.Blood Orange Macarons with Maple Orange Chocolate Pastry Creme The minute I saw the pretty little jars I knew what my macs were going to be – Blood Orange with Maple filling. I had already a thread of orange in my mind as my life is overflowing with tangerines. All the little shrubs have branches hanging heavy with this beautiful fruit … the little pooch seems to take a keen interest in the fruit too; little Coco who is ALL EYES!!Tangerines & CocoPretty orange life and there is only so much bitter marmalade I can make. I thought I would sweeten the filling mildly with maple flakes and add a dash of orange from the little bitter tangerines. The shells baked fine, the little feet appearing in a few minutes of baking, blushing a pastel orange. Blood Orange Macarons with Maple Orange Pastry CremeOf course we had a power cut again, but thankfully the frills had formed so no harm done! I was quite happy. What I wasn’t happy with was my choice of filling. A pastry creme obviously isn’t firm enough for these fiddly creatures. They got soft overnight and I had some fixing to do!Blood Orange Macarons with Maple Orange Pastry Creme I had a fix in mind … chocolate can fix anything, even a broken heart, and then I came across Mardi’s macaron post asking ‘Why do my macarons have hollow shells. That set me thinking! It was time to read up again. My macarons are also hollow at times and OK at other times even though my recipe is the same. So mac-obsessed me set off to try Mardis recipe.Blood Orange Macarons with Maple Orange Chocolate Pastry Creme I have to say they are the best tasting macarons I have ever made even though the shells weren’t anywhere near smooth. They looked so good 6 minutes into baking, just the perfect macs, but soon after threatened to crack up, but then shriveled slightly. Maybe it was because of undermixing, but the flavours were da bomb! You can find her recipe, perfect macarons and beautiful post here Blood Orange Macarons with Maple Orange Chocolate Pastry Creme To remedy the filling, I melted dark couverture chocolate and stirred it through the maple orange pastry creme, then chilled it. Delicieux!! There was a slight hint of bitterness from the tangerine peel and the balance of flavours was perfect! Thank you my sweet friend ShaymaThe Spice Spoon for adding wonderful spice to my life; inspiration too! I am sure you’ve been to her beautiful blog; it’s a treat in every sense!Blood Orange Macarons with Maple Orange Chocolate Pastry Creme

Do you want to join us making MACARONS?

If you do, you are most welcome to join us  for this challenge, or the next. You can find all the information at our dedicated macaron blog MacTweets. We generally post the round-up by the end of every month, following which a new challenge is posted!

[print_this]Recipe: Blood Orange Macarons with Maple Orange Chocolate Pastry Creme
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Summary: A perfect balance of flavours. Blood orange peel macarons, with a bitter orange dark chocolate filling, laced with mild flavours of pure maple. {Makes about 15 macarons}
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes

  • Blood Orange Macarons
  • {recipe adapted from David Lebovitz}
  • 1 egg white {35gm}, aged 2 days
  • 2 1/2 tbsp granulated sugar {I used vanilla sugar}
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup almond meal
  • 1/8 tsp egg white powder
  • 1/4 tsp cornflour
  • 1 tbsp dried blood orange peel
  • Pure maple flakes for sprinkling on shells
  • Maple Orange Chocolate Pastry Creme
  • 1/8 cup flour
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tbsp clarified butter, melted {or unsalted butter}
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 tbsp pure maple flakes
  • 1/2 vanilla bean
  • peel of 1 tangerine
  • 1 tbsp dried blood orange peel
  • 1 tbsp almond meal
  • 1/2 cup dark couverture chocolate, melted


  1. Blood Orange Macarons
  2. Run the powdered sugar, cornflour, almond meal, egg white powder and blood orange flakes in your processor until well blended and fine. Sift into a bowl.
  3. Beat the egg white until foamy, then add the granulated sugar and beat for approximately 2 minutes until stiff peaks form.
  4. Fold in 1/4 of the dry mix until no streaks remain, then add the remainder of the dry mix and gently fold in until you get a lava like batter. {donot overfold}
  5. Place into a piping bag and pipe circles onto parchment paper.
  6. Tap the trays sharply to get rid of air bubbles and allow to rest for 30-45 minutes.
  7. Bake in double trays at 140C for 12-15 minutes, until the shells are firm and no longer jiggly. {My oven uses just the lower element for baking, so I place the double trays towards the top of the oven}
  8. Cool.
  9. Maple Orange Chocolate Pastry Creme
  10. Whisk together the flour, tangerine rind, maple flakes,  sugar, salt, melted butter and egg in a heavy saucepan. Slowly add in the milk, whisking to ensure no lumps form. Place over medium heat with vanilla bean and bring to a simmer. Make sure you stir constantly so that the cream doesn’t ‘catch’ the bottom of the pan. Stir constantly until thick, remove from the heat and push through a sieve. Stir in the blood orange flakes, add the melted chocolate and whisk occasionally as it cools. Chill to firm up.
  11. Thermomix Maple Orange Pastry Creme
  12. Place all ingredients except blood orange flakes in bowl of TM, mix on reverse speed 2 for 5 seconds, then cook at 90C, Speed 4 for 7 minutes.
  13. Push through a sieve into a bowl, mix in blood orange flakes and stir occasionally until cool.
  14. To assemble:
  15. Match equal halves of macarons, and keep together.
  16. Use a small spoon and deposit a tiny amount of pastry creme on the flat side of the macaron and sandwich with another half of the same size, squeezing gently. Rest in fridge for a day to allow the flavours to mature.


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“Happiness. Simple as a glass of chocolate or tortuous as the heart. Bitter. Sweet. Alive.”
Joanne Harris, Chocolat

Dark Chocolate & Orange Panna CottaNever. Without. Chocolate. There’s something about chocolate … deep, sensuous, satisfying, comforting, seductive, addictive. I was on twitter after ages yesterday and came across a random tweet with someone despairing the lack of chocolate at home! A rather unsettling tweet that was! Dark Chocolate & Orange Panna CottaI had a bar of absolutely delicious bitter chocolate from Moscow that a friend got for me. Mmmm … more chocolate; life was becoming sweeter by the minute!Dark Chocolate & Orange Panna CottaWhats not to love about this fabulous combination, one that is high on my list of favourites and one that I enjoy playing with in my kitchen in the ‘orange’ months which sadly are restricted to the winter ones here. The conversation reminded me of the Dark Chocolate Mousse & Orange Panna Cotta that I made in December but never got down to posting!Dark Chocolate & Orange Panna CottaCouldn’t be a better time to bring this dessert to see light of day and share this quintessentially beautiful pairing … Chocolate & Orange = YUM!!

[print_this]Recipe: Dark Chocolate & Orange Panna Cotta
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Summary: Indulgent and ever so pleasing, a dark chocolate orange dessert offers a match made in heaven. Set in glass goblets to enjoy its visual appeal!

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes {plus setting time}

  • Dark Chocolate Orange Cream
  • 300ml low fat cream
  • 125gm dark chocolate, chopped {I used 54% couverture}
  • Zest of 1 orange
  • Orange Marmalade Panna Cotta
  • 300ml low fat cream
  • 125 ml whole milk
  • 2 tsp gelatin
  • 2 tbsp bitter orange marmalade
  • 1/2 cup sugar {use slightly less first, then adjust if required since the marmalade will also add to the sweetness}


  1. Dark Chocolate Orange Cream
  2. Place the chocolate in a large bowl.
  3. Bring the cream to a simmering boil in a small pan and pour over the chocolate. Add the zest of 1 orange and stir until the chocolate has melted and is satiny smooth.
  4. Place 6 wine glasses at a slant in a loaf pan, and pour the chocolate mixture into them. Leave these to set in the fridge for 2-3 hours till they hold shape.
  5. Orange Marmalade Panna Cotta
  6. Sprinkle the gelatin over 25ml or about 1/4 cup of milk and place the bowl over hot water for gelatin to melt.
  7. Bring the cream, sugar & remaining milk to a simmering boil over low heat, simmer for 5 minutes.
  8. Take cream mixture off heat, whisk in the gelatin and bitter orange marmalade. Whisk well so that the gelatin is mixed uniformly. Adjust sugar if required. Cool to room temperature and then pour over the set dark chocolate orange mousse.
  9. Chill until set for at least 4 hours, or overnight.


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“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.”
Leonardo da Vinci

Orange Almond Olive Oil CakeThis is a simple cake and it’s been more than 2 years that I’ve had this recipe bookmarked. Its been on my folder of recipes I HAVE to try forever, yet I missed making it last winter {orange season here}. A few days ago an uncle dropped by to see me, and also dropped by huge bags of apples and oranges. It was time to bake! The apples found their way into these Apple Strawberry Basil Hand Pies.Orange Almond Olive Oil Cake The oranges were destined for Anna Olsons Orange Almond Olive Oil Cake, a recipe I adapted from Vals post of April 2009. Visiting Vals blog is always nostalgic. More Than Burnt Toast and PAB go back many years. I’ve known Val ever since I began blogging {well almost, because in the first few months of blogging I was petrified of this whole blogging paraphernalia}.Orange Almond Olive Oil CakeShe’s a wonderful Canadian food blogger, supportive, fun and talented. We got to know each other better as time passed, and had a great time with the Blogger Aid Cookbook. I contributed a recipe to it, was part of the editing team, and thought up the idea for the book cover.Orange Almond Olive Oil CakeThe cake baked in the kitchen, filling the house with the most amazing aromas. I hadn’t felt this sweet bakery feeling in months. Summer has been filled with quick light desserts, baked in a hurry, sometimes no bake stuff. With the weather changing, a silent feeling of fall round the corner, this cake smelt so good, warm and comforting! Orange Almond Olive Oil Cake

Orange Almond Olive Oil CakeWhile the cake rose in the oven, I sliced up the oranges. The citrus salad is a refreshing, novel idea; a must make! All of it came together beautifully. My cake didn’t have as light a crumb as Vals because I used almost half almond meal and half all purpose flour. It was denser yet moist and delicious. Orange Almond Olive Oil Cake

Orange Almond Olive Oil CakeThe citrus salad is a beautiful addition to an already delicious cake. I took it a teeny indulgent step further, and served some with a drizzle of low fat cream with the citrus salad topping it. YUM!! The kids enjoyed just plain chilled slices too, and we were sad that it got over too soon! What could be better!!Orange Almond Olive Oil CakeOlive oil in baking is a wonderful idea and you must try and use a good quality brand. I would love to bake extensively with extra virgin olive oil but for its prohibitive cost. That said, this cake recipe will be made often as it was really nice! 

Orange Almond Olive Oil Cake

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Yield: 1 9 inch cake

Serves 8-10

Orange Almond Olive Oil Cake

An Anna Olson recipe; adapted from More Than Burnt Toast, this is a moist and delightfully flavoured cake. Orange and almond are a great pairing, and the citrus salad adds a new dimension.


Orange Almond Olive Oil Cake

2 eggs

1 cup vanilla sugar

3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

3/4 cup 2 %milk

Zest of 2 oranges or tangerines

1/2 cup + 2 T all purpose flour

1/2 cup almond meal

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp baking soda

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp orange extract

Pinch of salt

Icing sugar for dusting

Citrus Salad

3-4 navel oranges

2 T good quality extra virgin olive oil

2 T sugar


    To prepare Orange Olive Oil Cake

    Preheat oven to 180C and butter and flour a 9-inch round cake pan.

    In a large bowl, whisk eggs and sugar. Add olive oil, milk and orange zest and mix well. In a separate bowl, stir flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add to olive oil batter and stir just until smooth. Pour into prepared pan and bake for 40 to 50 minutes, until a tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.

    Let cake cool completely, then turn out onto a plate and dust with icing sugar.

    To make Citrus Salad

    Cut away skin and pith from outside of oranges and cut out sections of orange with a paring knife, pulling the orange segment out of its membrane. Immediately before serving, toss oranges with olive oil and sugar and serve with a slice of cake, and a serving of unsweetened low fat cream if desired.

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