By Leslie Crews
Let’s face it: Cookie is the new Cake, and the macaron is that cookie.
I’m not talking about just any old chocolate chunk, bland cookie. I’m talking about a cookie that’s a work of delicate art in its own right…the macaron.
Macarons swept onto the social scene as America’s next classy gourmet treat while cupcakes slid out of popularity in 2014, leaving many to don the delectibles as ‘the new cupcake’. As cookies started becoming a new wedding trend, macarons quickly and daintifully climbed to the top of that category as the latest and greatest go-to alternative signature dessert.
The macaron (not to be confused with macaroon, which is an entirely different dessert) is held beautifully and dutifully in place by a layer of either ganache or cream and is about the size of a pill bottle cap. In contrast to traditional cookies, macarons are light and delicate and are often colored in varying hues of the rainbow. Pistachio green. Strawberry pink. Coffee tan. Vanilla beige… Often the brilliant colors represent the macaron flavor. Macarons are an icon of French confectionery expertise. Though originally of Italian origin, macarons made their way to France in the 1500s (via Catherine de Medici, some speculate). From humble beginnings amongst nuns who sold them to sustain an honest living to landmark patisseries putting their own spin on its original recipe, the macaron we know and love today witnessed a very prolific evolution.
Modern macarons became a popular sweet treat among the French elite, as they were advertised in magazines like Elle, juxtaposed with jewelry and other fine wares. It is perhaps at this point, the image of macarons as the classy dessert became imprinted into minds across the Francophone and Anglophone worlds.
As an alternative to the traditional wedding cake, macaron displays are becoming increasingly popular in the Commonwealth, and for good reasons. Macarons leave less mess, as there are no excess gobs of icing to deal with staining the carpets and slicing isn’t an issue. Macarons offer the opportunity for better portion control, and can even double as wedding favors for guests. Also, macarons hold their shape…a huge relief for anyone who has ever had to struggle with maintaining wedding cake integrity during transport.