Macaron- a popular French delicate cookie made of egg whites, sugar and ground almond.
For clarity, I have drawn a diagram to illustrate the two terms that I will use to refer the parts of the macaron in the contents below.
Ever since the day my kindhearted friend brought me macarons of flavors I specified from a patisserie in Paris that I directed her to visit, traces of these sinfully delicious treats have lingered in my palate. Macaron Day (macarondaynyc.com), an event in which many prominent bakeries located in NYC give their customers complimentary macarons for free, was an opportunity too incredible to pass on for me to rediscover this impeccable taste that has been haunting me in my dreams.
1. Texture- the cookie should be crispy on the outside, and soft and gooey on the inside. Its surface should crumble lightly as my teeth carefully sink into this delicate pastry. The consistency of the cookie’s texture is a highly crucial element that is often overlooked by many patisseries, which produce macarons with the parts adjacent to the more liquid center filling hard and dense.
Sandwiched by the cookies is the center filling that should stay light and fluffy but not thick and dense. In other words, as I bite into the macaron, I should feel no resistance or barrier even as I have reached the filling.
2. Flavor- a macaron should not be overly sweet but fragrant. For example, when you enjoy an orange flavored macaron, you should taste the aroma of the zest and the citrus of the flesh of an orange, but not a saccharine, sugary taste that makes you feel as if the macaron is made of much sugar and little orange.
6. Bisous Ciao Macaron: Caramel and Chocolate Macaron
An adorable shop that sells nothing but macarons, Bisous Ciao Macaron set aside special macarons to give to customers; the question is, however, whether these macarons were especially good to woo the customers to purchase its other macarons, or especially bad because of the fact that they were free. Either way, this “special” caramel and chocolate macaron that I received was nothing short of disaster.
The surface of the macaron showed no sign of crumbling when I first bit into it because the cookie was so hard and dense. Not only was it overly sweet, but it also had no flavor. Because caramel is made from sugar heated slowly at a low temperature, the macaron was supposed to have a slight but pleasant burn taste; however, the macaron had no flavor whatsoever, and the experience was as close to as that of eating spoonfuls of sugar. The chocolate filling was no better; its texture was thick as that of a ganache instead of light and fluffy. I felt that I had to apply more pressure as I reach the filling.
Overall, my experience at Bisous Ciao Macaron was so appalling that, in the future, if I get another macaron from there for free, I would not even eat it for it would be nothing but empty calories.
5. DessertTruck Works: Praline Macaron
The cookie was hardly crispy on the outside, and the inside was soft and nice, but given the unimpressive outside, there wasn’t much contrast of which to take note. The macaron was overly sweet—it failed to capture the aromatic and nutty flavor of praline.
4. Cours La Reine: Yuzu Macaron.
The cookie was crispy on the outside, the surface crumbled as I sank my teeth into the macaron. The inside was soft and gooey, providing a pleasant contrast in texture; however, the cookie quickly became dense as I got close the center filling, and I had to use much force to reach the filling. The flavor of the macaron was disappointing as well— the macaron was overall on the sweet side—it had little fragrance of the yuzu. I wish Cours La Reine had exploited the tartness and citrusy flavor of the yuzu to produce a much more fragrant and refreshing macaron. Moreover, the macaron’s filling was not light or fluffy, but rather had the texture of marmalade. It contained bits of the yuzu zest that greatly enhanced the flavor of the filling, which, unfortunately, was covered by the overpowering sweetness of the macaron.
3. Bouchon Bakery: Caramel Macaron
Bouchon’s macaron, I would say, was rather unconventional. Its size was very big but not petite or delicate. The outside of the cookie had a nice crisp, and the inside was very gooey and soft. But the same problem arose as other macarons—the parts of the cookie that were adjacent to the filling were hard and dense. Bouchon kept its macarons in the fridge because of the highly creamy and thick filling in between the sandwiches of the macaron, making the filling to resemble ice cream and providing a nice contrast in temperature between the cookie and the filling. Although the macaron lacked impressive flavors and aromas, it was not overly sweet, which made eating it a much more pleasurable experience.
T1. Francois Payard Bakery & FC Chocolate Bar at the Plaza Hotel: Cranberry and Passion Fruit Macarons
Both establishments are owned by Francois Payard, a renowned pastry chef whose career has been highly successful in America. The Passion Fruit Macaron’s texture was close to being impeccable- the cookie was crispy on the outside and soft in the inside, but the cookie’s texture got dense as it got close to the center filling. Its flavor, however, made up for its fault in texture; at the first bite, the Passion Fruit Macaron was only a little bit sweet, but its citrusy taste and fruity aroma quickly filled up my palate and left a pleasant aftertaste, as if it was wooing me to quickly take another bite. Moreover, the Cranberry Macaron was tart and slightly sweet, and its fruity filling added another dimension to the macaron. Overall, eating these fruit-flavored macarons by Francois Payard was like eating their corresponding fruits, but only more sinfully delicious.