The weekend before last I headed down to the city from upstate NY to visit some grad school friends that I hadn’t seen in a few years, which was so great! On Friday night after eating at a Greek place, we baked a batch of red velvet cupcakes and a loaf, then ate most of it while drinking wine and watching youtube videos. Honey badger don’t care!
We went into Manhattan the next day where we walked around 5th Avenue (I finally went into the crazy Apple store), then meandered through Central Park. At this point, I thought I’d try to look up the whereabouts of the Big Gay Ice Cream Truck via twitter, but it turned out that they had gone to Maine for a friend’s wedding. Sad panda.
But then a lightbulb flashed, and I said I wanted to look for macarons! Luckily I found out at that point that my friend Amanda was obsessed with them and had even had some at the famed Ladurée in Paris. Jealous!
It turned out that we actually weren’t too far from a macaron-devoted bakery: Macaron Café! Once there, we were greeted with the biggest selection of macarons I have seen yet. This was actually only the second time I had really tried them at a bakery though, and there were only about five flavors the first time. The shop was very small and cute with a little seating area in the back. The menu also listed breakfast, salads, sandwiches, daily specials, and beverages, but we just bought macarons and left.
The first macaron I tried was cassis-flavored. Of course when I ordered this, I dumbly said CASS-is instead of ca-SSEES, but the lady behind the counter corrected me. And if you don’t know this flavor is (I was clueless), it’s blackcurrant! It was good, but a little more chewy than I was expecting.
The next macaron was a rhubarb one! I couldn’t resist due to my new found love of the red stalky thing, plus the mac looked pretty with the brush stroke.
I preferred this over the cassis texturally because the inside was a little more soft. My guess is that it had matured a bit longer, but who knows. Flavor-wise, the rhubarb filling had a nice sweet and slightly tart taste.
Finally, I saved what I expected to be the best for last because I was the most excited about it: passion fruit! This is my current flavor obsession, which seems to have been sparked by my trip to New Zealand (I’m not sure why, although I did eat a lot of peach/passion fruit yogurt…)
These were really visually appealing with their bright (but not too fake) shade of yellow and little black flecks. I first thought the flecks were poppy seeds, then black sesame seeds, but now I’m not so sure. [EDIT: black sanding sugar. Thanks, Emma and Cecile!] Either way, I realized the macaron totally went with my outfit!
Alright, now the flavor…the flavor?? Ohhhh man! If you love passion fruit like I do, this was like crack in cookie form. Well, I’m not sure about that statement as I’ve never done crack, but let’s just say it’s a good thing I live thousands of miles away from these babies. In keeping with the trend, this mac had the best texture of all three: it was pillowy soft, but still with a slight chewiness to it. The filling was different from the previous two as it was a buttercream instead of a jam, so maybe that had something to do with it, and/or it could have had the most ideal amount of time to mature.
My friends tried the pistachio, lemon, rose, and something else pink that I can’t remember, and their favorite was the rose, with the lemon coming in second. You know what I’d recommend, but I did enjoy all three.
Also, I have to say that this was the first time I’ve tried macarons since making six batches myself, and I have to say that although I haven’t perfected the look of them, they really were comparable texture-wise. Now I really haven’t tried to make any super interesting flavors yet, but that will definitely change once I get more experienced with making the little buggers!
625 Madison Avenue (entrance on 59th Street)
New York, NY 10022
M-F: 7am-7pm, Sat: 9am-7pm, Sun: 10am-6pm
485 7th Avenue (entrance on 36th Street)
New York, NY 10018
M-F: 7am-8pm, Sat: 10am-7pm
The macarons were $2.25 each and can be shipped nationwide!