A part of my holy trinity of foods, the macaron in my ever so humble opinion, is the perfect sweet treat.
Small enough that you don’t feel guilty eating one, and you don’t feel as guilty when you manage to eat a dozen of them ( … not speaking from personal experience or anything). The delicate crunch, the chewy inside, not to mention the vast array of fillings sandwiched in-between (sweet jams, jellies, that well-known chocolatey hazelnut spread…mmm), and since they are made with ground almonds, those who can’t have gluten can eat them because…THEY’RE GLUTEN FREE! They are the bomb dot com (kids still say that right?).
A bit difficult to find only a few years ago, but thanks to French patisseries like Ladurée and famous pastry chef Pierre Herme, macarons have spread like wildfire across the globe. (If you would like some history/background on the macaron, I highly recommend this NY Times profile.)
As some who fancies herself a macaron enthusiast/critic (mainly based on the amount I’ve consumed in my travels), here are my five favorite places to taste this confection:
Apple Pie Bakery Café (CIA’s Hyde Park campus)- Hands down, this place has the BEST (you know I’m serious when I bold and use all caps) macarons I’ve tasted. It’s not much of a surprise coming from a culinary school that has produced the likes of Johnny Iuzzini and Duff Goldman. My favorite flavors are their caramel, cinnamon, and apple macaron or their caramel and pineapple macaron; either way, you really can’t go wrong here.
Ladurée (New York, Miami, international locations)- Nearly as ubiquitous as the macaron itself, this place is no joke when it comes to sweets. With flavors like Strawberry Candy Marshmallow (Guimauve Fraise Bonbon in French), and Rose, it is well worth the higher price tag for a taste (or two) of luxury.
Dana’s Bakery (online, various retail locations)- The self-proclaimed “Original American Made Macaron,” marries the traditionally French confection with all-American flavors like Thin Mint, Cookie Dough, Birthday Cake, etc. Feeling nostalgic? Bite into a Fruity Cereal or a Peanut Butter & Jelly macaron… you’ll wish your mom packed these in your school lunch.
Bouchon Bakery (New York, Las Vegas, Los Angeles and Napa Valley)- Available in normal and massive baseball-sized options, here you get more macaron for your buck. perfect for an afternoon snack or cheeky breakfast (their ice coffee is fantastic as well), you have your choice from more traditional flavors like Vanilla, Pistachio, Chocolate, and Caramel.
Financier Patisserie (New York)- Another bakery with giant macarons, but with a larger flavor library, makes the my empty pit of a stomach and my wallet very happy. Currently, it only has stores in Manhattan, with one conveniently located in Grand Central (I cave and go in every time I pass it on my way to the train).
Note: I know Francois Payard is known to have delicious macarons (including an ice cream sandwich (!!!) in the Summer), but since I have not tasted them (YET), I didn’t put it on the list. Now if Payard’s PR peeps reach out to me, I’m sure we can arrange something… 😉
Hope you enjoyed the first installment of Treat Yo’ Self Thursday! What do you think about the list? Are there any places you would recommend?