Tuesday, March 16, 2010

In Defense of the Much Maligned Macaroon

Lately I've seen a couple of articles predicting that macarons will be the next dessert craze à la cup cakes. People often mistakenly call them macaroons, an entirely different pastry, and the article authors were highly contemptuous of those who mistake the exalted macaron for the "lowly" macaroon. As I have written previously, I'm as mad about macarons as any foodie fadist but I'm not going to slam on macaroons because I think they are equally tasty. 

Macaroons are the antithesis of macarons in that they are simple to assemble and bake up pretty reliably. Although quite tasty plain, I’m partial to dipping them in chocolate because chocolate and coconut go together like peas and carrots. A macaroon with a coat of chocolate just looks so elegant… I would argue they give macarons a run for their money in the style department.  

I first learned to make macaroons at Sweet Tempered, a boutique bakery ran by two ladies, where I volunteered for a short time shortly after I moved to Austin. (Sweet Tempered is by far the best name I’ve ever encountered for a woman-owned bakery. Love the double entendre- playing on the stereotype of mild mannered women and chocolate making.) The ladies mostly made custom cakes for weddings and other special events but did some wholesale work for local coffee shops as well. They used volunteers and interns from the local cooking schools to help out with wholesale production. I’ve heard the business has since closed which is a shame- they were very talented ladies. 

I learned a few tips at Sweet Tempered that I have since employed whenever I make macaroons such as using a small ice cream scoop for a more uniform shape and doing a half dip in chocolate for a prettier presentation. I really like this recipe for macaroons that I found via New York Magazine's website.

2 comments:

  1. They look delectable. Almost make me want to reach into my laptop and grab one! I make that mistake too with that word.. (should be ashamed of myself I know) but now I won't that same mistake! :D

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  2. I was telling Vanessa the other day about buying macarons at a fancy pants, hip bakery here in Austin, where the young girl who helped me rang up my "macaroons with a chocolate grenache filling." I thought they had infused the chocolate with grenache (the wine) until I realized she was referring to ganache! We both had a good laugh!

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