There is no contest between macarons and cupcakes, or even macarons and whoopee pies. Dubbed the next ‘cupcakes’ in terms of baked good trends by Bon Appetit, macarons and whoopee pie have been set up for an explosive entry into mass consumption. Move aside cupcake bakeries of the 2000’s, you’ve been replaced. (Thank god.)
But the macaron, that little French sandwich cookie comprised of two delicate almond meringue shells and any number of luscious, rich fillings, that little bite of perfectly crunchy and chewy, light yet substantial sweetness, has no competition. In terms of the macaron vs. the cupcake vs. the whoopee pie, the macaron wins. Sorry America, but France has got you in the pastry department once again. It happens. Let’s be real, a whoopee pie is simply an overgrown Oreo anyways. Never fear though, macarons can be made on U.S. soil, and with quite lovely results.
The macaron is, I’ll say it, my favorite cookie. Quite a statement, and one that is continually up for discussion. Particularly since the dialogue of ‘my favorite cookie’ requires that I eat many, many cookies. C’est la vie. The macaron is a treat of contrasts, with a crisp outer shell giving way to a moist and sticky interior. And the flavor options, they’re endless. By contemporary macaron standards—since clearly this little sweet is of the magnitude to deserve standards and categorization, scales and rankings—a Coffee Macaron with White Coffee Filling is practically mundane. Delicious and perfect each and every bite, but a bit boring. Lacking in any sort of crumb or hibiscus infusion, the coffee macarons are the Plain Janes of the macaron world. But they’re unabashed in their simplicity, and the perfect treat for any coffee lover.
A recent reason for macarons besting all other bite-sized sweets is this weekend’s ‘airplane test.’ Because clearly, pastry comparisons require high-altitude testing. On my flight back to Washington from California, I packed two cute little coffee macarons in my carry-on knowing that, of course, they would be squished and broken in six hours. And they were absolutely mangled. But even flattened and glued together in a coffee macaron mass they were delicious. Rich and lacy, the macaron blob was a brilliant breakfast. Now, imagine a cupcake or whoopee pie blob. Not as inviting, and more the texture of paste.
So if anything, make macarons not for their pretty little shells or the little snap that occurs when you bite into them, make macarons because they are the of best airplane snacks.
Yes, better than peanuts.
Recipe on the following page.