Looking for a sweet way to celebrate Bastille Day? Try macarons.. No, not macaroons — the dense almond or coconut cookies seen around Passover. French macarons —
The colorful, delicately crunchy and slightly chewy cookies held together by creamy granache — are arguably one of France’s greatest contributions to the culinary world.
A little history
The almond cookie part of macarons made its first appearance at Catherine de Medici’s wedding to Henry II in 1533, but its popularity didn’t catch on until the French revolution. At the turn of the 20th century, the Parisienne baker Laduree started putting granache between two almond cookies. Voila! The modern macaron was born.
MToday, macarons are now showing up everywhere, from online shops like MadMac.com to Starbucks. There’s even a Macaron Museum in Montmorillon, France.
“I love the texture of the shell, the crisp, thin outer ‘crust’, the just-a-tad chewy innards and the slight roughness of the craggy little foot that forms on the bottom of a perfect macaron,” said Dorie Greenspan, author of Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Herme and the forthcoming My French Table.
Greenspan ought to know. After all, her painstakingly detailed recipe of Pierre Herme’s chocolate macaron is considered the gold standard of macaron recipes and made macarons possible for home cooks.
The perfect macaron
Aside from the delicate eggshell like sheen in the crust, Ms. Greenspan said she looks for beautifully made macarons with great flavor combinations. “Macarons by their very nature are sweet, so the skill is in finding the perfect flavor combinations that can contrast with the sweetness or use it to its advantage,” said Greenspan, who has a special affinity for the chocolate variety.
MACARONS IN NEW YORK
Most macaron recipes span several cookbook pages, so thankfully in New York, there is City has no shortage of ready-made, great macarons. So celebrate liberty, equality and fraternity in high style and give a toast to France.
Kee's Chocolates SoHo
80 Thompson St., 212-334-3284
One of New York’s premier chocolatiers makes handcrafted macarons. Box of 8 ($22.40); bag of mini macarons ($4).
We recommend: The Rosewater Lychee Macaron — it's the closest to Pierre Herme’s
macaron in Paris
La Maison Du Chocolat
30 Rockefeller Plaza., 212-265-9404,
1018 Madison Ave., 212-744-7117
63 Wall St., 212-952-1123
An all-time favorite among NYC gourmands, LMDC’s macarons come in 2 sizes: $2.50 each for the small macaron and $5 for the large macaron. A box of 6 is $15; a box of 12 is $30.
We recommend: What else? The chocolate macaron, of course. 6pc box $15
10 Columbus Circle, 212-823-9364
The macarons from Sebastian Rouxel, executive pastry chef of the Thomas Keller Restaurant Group, also come in two sizes: $12 for a package of 6 minis or $2.75 each for the regular ones. Current seasonal flavors include pistachio, lemon and strawberry.
We recommend: Lemon
Dessert Club Chikalicious
204 E. 10th St., 212-475-0929
The macarons here aren’t as colorful as other places in the city but they are just as delicious! $1.95 each.
We recommend: Rose
La Maison du Macaron
132 W. 23rd St., 212-243-2757
Formerly known as Madeleine Patisserie, this French-style bakery (whose name means house of macarons) carries an average of 15 flavors of macarons, sold individually for $2.50 each.
We recommend: Salted caramel
442 9th St., Brooklyn, 718-797-5026
One of Dorie Greennspan’s favorite spots for macarons, this DUMBO bakery sells macarons individually for $1.25 each.
We recommend: Coffee
Can’t get to a store? Order macarons online from Florian Bellanger, the Paris-trained former chef of Fouchon’s in NYC. $18 for a tray of 12.
We recommend: The Tea Box, a sampler box of 12 tea-flavored macarons