Now I Understand the Macaron Craze

Jan 28, 2011 by

Pillowy fluffs of meringue heaven

Okay, I get it now. Tonight marked a big moment in any foodie's life--okay, maybe in any woman's life: I tried my first macaron. I couldn't believe I'd waited so long, really, as I tasted them from the bottom up. The bottom, a pistachio macaron with green-tea filling. The next, raspberry, and the top, lemon with lemon creme. Oo la la. I mean, come on, doesn't the pure French-ness of the word macaron turn you on just a little bit? Aren't you just a tad aroused by all the almond meal and egg white glory up there? You're probably thinking, Duh, of course they're amazing. Why'd you wait so long? Well, allow me to explain. Part of it is because they're ridiculously (nearly prohibitively, in my book) expensive. But it goes much deeper than that. You see, the macaron has recently reached cult status, gathering followers and crazed paparazzi on its tail. It's almost as bad as the poor beleaguered cupcake, the Robert Pattinson of the dessert world. It has become an insane little trend. And like Pearl Jam, skinny jeans and taking pics of your food, when it comes to trends I usually show up on the super-late bus. Not because I'm a procrastinator. Not because I'm not punctual. And definitely not because I don't pay attention. Oh I pay attention. I noticed you there a couple years ago with your skinny jeans and DSLR camera, snapping away at cupcakes. But like the first generation iPhone (nope, don't have a smart phone either), hot new trends make me nervous. I don't trust them somehow. I don't want to be left with wall bangs, pegged jeans, and a new bottle of Aqua Net just as you've shrugged them off for your hot new flannel shirt.

Me, caressing my macaron.

But this trend--this one actually does make some sense. I finally let my guard down when some friends brought les macarons home from Montclair Baking, the colorful puffs of heaven nestled into a white pastry box. There's something about the macaron...its utter beauty really does make you want to snap pictures of it like a movie star. I think I took over twenty shots for the one I finally chose here. I've made those macarons work for it, sprawled out on plates and stacked on table tops for my voyeuristic pleasure. You must try a macaron at least once in your life, but splurge on the good ones. Everyone should experience the almond meal and crispy sweet exterior that gives way to a flaky, tender meringue and smooth filling, sandwiched between two dreamy pillows. You could even try your hand at making some by following the Parisian-dwelling pastry chef, David Lebovitz's recipe for chocolate macarons here or his general guide here. Or check out my friend Sara's recipes, lemon here or dark mint chocolate (OMG) here). Make them, eat them, love them, photograph them. And then get over it. There are a lot of other cookies out there--and they miss you.

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