A Party Macaron for Macaron Day: Hibiscus, Blood Orange & Campari.

When Jamie and Deeba announced the latest MacTweet Challenge it was time for more inspiration. That’s what I also adore about macarons: with an empty canvas in front of you, it’s easy to experiment with flavours using the basic recipe. For the challenge, macaronivores were to come up with a new macaron creation to celebrate la fête du macaron (Macaron Day) on 20 March. All the signs were there to do something a bit different. The result? A macaron that’s not really sweet as such; neither is it savoury. One thing is for sure – it’s a party macaron and as addictive as ever!

I’m fascinated by this sprawling hibiscus plant. Ever since we moved it indoors during the chilly months, it didn’t seem to appreciate our company. It’s next to the TV and the piano for goodness sake, so what’s been going wrong since October with no flowers? Suddenly last week, it blooming sprouted! Could it be that my piano students are progressing so it’s getting more tunes – or is it the Six Nations’ Rugby at weekends?

I first discovered hibiscus in Egypt many moons ago when my parents-in-law were living in Alexandria. It was in the form of carcadé – a bright red infusion made with dried hibiscus flowers. I loved this thirst-quenching drink in such a heat, as long as some sugar was added to sweeten its alluring bitter taste. Then the other day when I was cleaning out a cupboard (yes, this happens sometimes), these pretty dried hibiscus flowers pleaded, Infuse me; this bottle of Campari suggested, Finish me; and the blood oranges in the fruit bowl pressed at me, Squeeze me; so I poured myself a glass with a little carcadé, Campari and finished it off with blood orange juice. I highly recommend it while preparing risotto to gradually generate a party mode, especially during the week.

Then bingo: this cool drink just winked at me and begged, “Macaron me, baby.”

I know, I know. This macaron is perhaps not quite in focus. Neither are my eyes just now but I’ve ordered new glasses so patience is the word. What’s incredible about this macaron is that it’s not really that sweet. Before Julie tried one, I warned her about it being a bit bitter but my daughter is a keen taster: no, Mum. Don’t add any more sugar but hang on, can I just have a few more to confirm?

I simply followed the filling recipe on p84 (Whisky macCoffee) but replaced the liquid with 50ml blood orange juice, 30ml hibiscus infusion and 20ml Campari.

Julie is right; the filling’s bitterness and the macaron shell’s sweetness is intriguing and what makes it addictive. You can even enjoy this macaron as an apéritif and it wouldn’t be out of place (except if you call it macarooooon.) I took to drinking it with a pot of Darjeeling at goûter time. Don’t you just love trying out new concoctions? Thanks to MacTweets for the inspiration and Happy Macaron Day to all you macaronivores on 20th March. If anyone is in Paris, contact me and we’ll go on a macaronathon together to try out the goods! Kick-off at 10am at Pierre Hermé, Opéra…

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68 Responses to A Party Macaron for Macaron Day: Hibiscus, Blood Orange & Campari.

  1. RollerScrapper March 27, 2012 at 15:36 #

    Absolutely gorgeous! I’m instantly transported back to Italy and enjoying some blood orange soda!

  2. Amrita March 18, 2012 at 04:06 #

    You’re hilarious, Jill, but I think you did well with your new glasses too since the pic was pretty much in proper focus! When I grew up in India, hibiscus was extremely common, the plant, so this post was really intriguing for me. And I so wish I was in Paris so I could join you on your macaronathon…actually, I would pretty much like to be in Paris any time of the year. Sigh.

  3. thoma March 18, 2012 at 03:50 #

    Jill, you’re a whiz, and so funny you…getting epiphanies from flowers and bottles…wowee…should tell your family to keep a better eye on you ;p

    the pics are so bold and beautiful in the bigger canvas!!

    i dunno when can i taste your addictive and non-addictive (;p) macarons!

  4. HI Cookery March 15, 2012 at 20:04 #

    Love the vibrant color of your macarons and the creative way you infused a tropical flower (Hawaiian hibiscus) into the flavor. Aloha and Happy Macaron Day!

  5. Anuja March 14, 2012 at 11:24 #

    Such a lovely colour and a beautiful post.

  6. Liz March 13, 2012 at 17:06 #

    Your party macaron is gorgeous!!! Perfect choice to celebrate the upcoming macaron day!!

  7. Charlie March 13, 2012 at 15:57 #

    Hi Jill:
    Hoping your day is sunny and happy!

    If you don’t mind I would like to get your opinion on a product they have on amazon.
    Here is the link



    • Jill March 13, 2012 at 16:50 #

      Hi Charlie
      Yes it’s gloriously sunny in Paris just now!
      You want my opinion on the molds (or silicone mat with raised rings for that matter too)? There’s no need to spend money on these. Nothing to beat baking paper or a silicone flat mat like Silpat. You’ll get perfectly round macs by just following the recipe to the letter then piping them out. They’re naturally round without gadgets. I’ve even noted that feet can be difficult to produce using these new molds. Just my opinion.

      Update! Read my macaron mat review for the full monty.

  8. Parsley Sage March 13, 2012 at 11:46 #

    Pretty cool! I love that its a combo that blows your mind :) And they’re super cuto too! Perfect party favors


    • Jill March 15, 2012 at 08:26 #

      Thanks, Carsley. xo

  9. Rosh March 13, 2012 at 09:32 #

    Absolutely fantastic clicks! Love the colour…yummy!

    Chef Al dente On going event: Gimme GREEN!

  10. Ivy March 13, 2012 at 07:49 #

    Hi Jill, love the new look of your blog! What a great idea to make these beautiful red macarons and love the picture with the plant!

    • Jill March 15, 2012 at 08:25 #

      Thanks Ivy. So happy with the new look and it’s easier technically, too!

  11. Barbara @ Barbara Bakes March 13, 2012 at 02:56 #

    I wish I was going to be in Paris to go on a macaronathon. What a fabulous way to spend the day. Your macs sound amazing.

    • Jill March 15, 2012 at 08:25 #

      Barbara, just make every day a macaron day and imagine you’re in Paris!

  12. Juliana March 12, 2012 at 20:11 #

    Jill, what a beautiful color…so vivid and “happy”, like the flavor too…so exotic…blood orange and Campari…Love the pictures…I am so “chicken”, still gathering courage to make macs…
    Thanks for this wonderful post and hope you have a great week ahead :)

    • Jill March 15, 2012 at 08:16 #

      Juliana, why are you needing courage to make macarons? They’re really not difficult and with all the delicious goodies I’ve seen you make on your blog, they’d be a piece of cake for you!

  13. Lisa @ tartedujour.com March 12, 2012 at 20:06 #

    Oh wow… I’ve never seen such a beautiful colored macaron! I’d like to decorate an entire room in that color! We have a hibiscus tree in our backyard but the color isn’t that stunning.

    • Jill March 15, 2012 at 08:14 #

      Love it, Lisa. A hibiscus macaron room!

  14. Jamie March 12, 2012 at 10:50 #

    The macaron is gorgeous and the flavors stunning! Wow I wish I could taste that one – I know how fabulous and unusual savory-sweet macs are but bitter-sweet? I am more than intrigued… and what an amazing color! Yes, so much like a Campari-Blood Orange drink (very cool) but so like an hibiscus! You are so creative! And I grew up in Florida with hibiscus in every color all around me and I love the flower…

    • Jill March 12, 2012 at 13:26 #

      Imagine growing up in Florida surrounded by all of these beauties? Wow, Jamie. Yep, you should try this one. I was a bit scared of mixing Campari with Hibiscus as each on their own are bitter enough. But it works with the sweeter macaron shell.

  15. Vicki Bensinger March 12, 2012 at 09:41 #

    I recently purchase a jar of dried hibiscus for cooking but haven’t used it yet. Now that you’ve given me some inspiration I may have to try something similar. The color of your Macarons are beautiful. I like how your creative mind works. No wonder your book is so successful.

    • Jill March 12, 2012 at 13:24 #

      You’re so sweet, Vicki, thank you. Stay tuned for my guest post tomorrow, as I have a couple more ideas for your dried hibiscus flowers.

  16. Sandra's Easy Cooking March 12, 2012 at 02:04 #

    Lovely post Jill and very pretty and yummy photos! I just wish that I am closer so I can knock on your door and eat at least one of your fancy and delicious macrons!:) Wonderful post sweetie!!

    • Jill March 12, 2012 at 13:23 #

      Wish you lived next door as well, Sandra. I’m sure we would have some pretty good exchanges ;-)

  17. Magic of Spice March 11, 2012 at 22:16 #

    First off, your site looks fantastic!
    And as for these gorgeous macarons…wow, such a stunning color!

    • Jill March 12, 2012 at 13:22 #

      Thank you. Glad you like the site – Melissa at Fine Lime Designs did a brilliant revamp!

  18. Jaime March 11, 2012 at 20:50 #

    The hibiscus is my country’s (Malaysia) national flower, you have done it proud :)

    • Jill March 12, 2012 at 13:21 #

      Feel proud to read your comment, Jaime. Thank you.

  19. The Chocolate Priestess March 11, 2012 at 14:09 #

    Is Macaron Day celebrated around the world or in a specific country?

    • Jill March 11, 2012 at 14:45 #

      Good question, Priestess. It was just “officially” in France but see that it’s celebrated around the world. Then there are other macaron days in Australia. Basically it’s a promotion push for the well known macaron boutique shops but great excuse to have fun!

  20. Hester @ Alchemy in the Kitchen March 11, 2012 at 11:30 #

    Jill, you are such a creative lady. I love the idea of the hibiscus soaking up the tunes from the piano. It is one of my favourite flowers and you’ve gone and immortalised it in macaron form. Wonderful photos. Hope you are having a great weekend, Hxo

    • Jill March 11, 2012 at 14:44 #

      You know, Hester. You’ve just made me realise that the hibiscus looks like the gramophone in His Master’s Voice! Had a super weekend in Scotland thanks. Next time I need to come to Ireland. Everyone is just so friendly. Been in Paris for so long, you forget…

  21. parisbreakfast March 11, 2012 at 09:01 #

    You are such an artiste with the macaron colours!!
    never cease to amaze
    I hope you survived the ambush at the biblioteche…ahem

    • Jill March 11, 2012 at 14:42 #

      Ambush? It was great fun this weekend at the macaron event in Glasgow. I love the Glasgwegians!

      • Jérôme March 11, 2012 at 17:54 #

        Jill was inspiring at the bibliothèque!!!! :)
        Glaswegians are lovely, I confirm! ;)

        • Jill March 11, 2012 at 20:13 #

          Merci, Jérôme. Great pleasure to meet you and have fun making the macs. Let us know how you get on.

  22. Nami | Just One Cookbook March 11, 2012 at 08:19 #

    I was thinking of you today. I bought macarons from Bouchon Bakery when I went to Napa today. They are really, really good but it is $3 each! I really want to make macarons at home! As always, you are amazing macaron specialist. :-) Beautiful post Jill!

    • Jill March 11, 2012 at 14:41 #

      See, Nami? That’s how it starts…
      Not a specialist, just want to show you that you can do it too. Go for it!

  23. Paula March 10, 2012 at 16:58 #

    I know you make a mean macaron but I didn’t know that you taught piano! The colour of this macaron is just lovely and the flavour combinations are truly unique. That hibiscus is gorgeous!

    • Jill March 11, 2012 at 14:40 #

      Paula, you should ask my students. I make a sweet macaron but I’m a mean piano teacher, lol.

  24. Michèle March 10, 2012 at 13:56 #

    Great match and beautiful pictures, as always. The colour is wonderfull and perfectly evoque the hibiscus flower.. very nice !

    • Jill March 11, 2012 at 14:39 #

      Merci beaucoup, Michèle. I wished the hibiscus flower lasted as long as a macaron can in the fridge! The flowers drop off after 3 days, boohoo, so glad I took their pics!

  25. Martyn Dickson March 10, 2012 at 13:31 #

    Wow a fantastic combination, a great cocktail to boot, as for inspiration, i like a cocktail made similar to yours, but replace passion fruit juice/pulp with the blood orange!! now i reckon that would also make a cracking Macaron!

    best wishes

    • Jill March 11, 2012 at 14:38 #

      Love it, Martyn. Campari, hibiscus and passion fruit? Cheers to a cracking macaron (although without the cracking part, hehe.)

  26. Charlie March 10, 2012 at 13:31 #


    I still haven’t got my feet wet yet, but have ideas floating around in my head.


    • Jill March 11, 2012 at 14:36 #

      Glad to hear you’re floating around. Now get wet! :-)

  27. Maureen March 10, 2012 at 04:16 #

    Not everyone would match their macarons to the flowers on their hibiscus.

    You constantly amaze me. :)

    • Jill March 11, 2012 at 14:36 #

      Bit mad, I suppose – but having so much fun! You can do the same, Maureen :-)

  28. Ann March 10, 2012 at 03:51 #

    They are so bright and pretty and I LOVE your description!

  29. Amy @ FragrantVanillaCake March 10, 2012 at 00:58 #

    These sound delicious to me! I like things that are slightly less sweet and the combination of flavors you have here is intriguing! Hibiscus and blood oranges are two ingredients I love to see use in creative ways! Hope you have a wonderful weekend Jill :) !

    • Jill March 11, 2012 at 14:35 #

      Thanks Amy. Just back after weekend in Scotland – great fun. I’m like you: not too sweet, please. Got some other ideas on this theme coming up this week…

  30. Lora March 9, 2012 at 17:44 #

    Gorgeous! Such lovely flavors and that color! Once of my most favs. Beautiful pix as well.

    • Jill March 9, 2012 at 18:00 #

      Thanks, Lora. I think this one is going to be made again…

  31. Tina@flourtrader March 9, 2012 at 17:19 #

    The flavors that you infused this with-very creative and no doubt delicious. The bitter and sweet contrast does sound like it would make for a wonderful bite. Also, your presentation is stunning as well as eye catching. Another winner! Have a great weekend.

    • Jill March 9, 2012 at 17:58 #

      Thanks so much for your sweet words, Tina. xo

  32. Kiri W. March 9, 2012 at 15:39 #

    Gorgeous pictures! I had no idea macaron day existed, but now I must get my hands on some ;) Thanks for providing me with an excuse!

    • Jill March 9, 2012 at 17:57 #

      That’s the official one, Kiri, but we don’t need excuses to eat more macs, do we?

  33. Emily @ Life on Food March 9, 2012 at 13:45 #

    What a great color! I want a macaron and a the drink!

    • Jill March 9, 2012 at 17:56 #

      Cheers, Emily!

  34. Marsha @ The Harried Cook March 9, 2012 at 11:31 #

    Have I told you lately that I think you are genius! This sounds like a brilliant flavor combination… LOVE the pictures and I am still in love with the new look of your site! :) Hugs

    • Jill March 9, 2012 at 17:55 #

      Thanks Marsha. Nothing genius, just having fun and excuse for a wee drink in a mac ;-)

  35. Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite March 9, 2012 at 11:30 #

    Love this post Jill – and what a great way to brighten my morning today! I have been on a bit of a mac marathon recently – you’ll read all about it next week!

    • Jill March 9, 2012 at 17:53 #

      Oooh – let’s boogie in more macaronathons. Loving it already, Mardi!

  36. Choc Chip Uru March 9, 2012 at 11:15 #

    Your description is enticing and I just want to escape reality and fantasise of this wonderful macaron! Thank you for a wonderful post and happy Macaron day :D

    Choc Chip Uru
    Latest: Brown Butter Surprise M&Ms Ultra Chewy Cookies

    • Jill March 9, 2012 at 17:51 #

      Hehee – I want to escape reality as well by hiding in a macaron plant. Merci xo

  37. Sandy March 9, 2012 at 10:12 #

    Hi Jill, adorable and what an idea to take the pictures in *that* way! I’m planning a macaronathon for Jour du Macaron. Last year I have baked 300 pieces and gave them to the “unknown” (there are people outside which have never heard about). They donated and we raised 350€ for a charity organisation.
    If I would be in Paris, I would join a macaron- party with you. Warmly, Sandy

    • Jill March 9, 2012 at 17:50 #

      Wow! Bravo to you for your great charity macaronathon, Sandy. Impressive stuff! Hope there’s another time for an excuse to have a macaron party.

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