Having had a sweet tooth for my entire life, I am always curious about any new, popular confection or baked good. A few years ago, it was the insurgence of the cupcake. However, over the past 12 months, my eyes have continually fallen upon petite, brightly colored, circular meringues, with a soft crunch, slight chew and delightful filling. Perched under glass dome of many cake stands in numerous bakeries and confectioneries around town, the elegant French macaron has made a grand revival!
Resembling a miniature, vibrantly colored sandwich cookie, the two macaron shells are made from combining almond flour with Italian meringue – light as a feather – slowly baked and then delicately spread with an unique filling, macarons tempt you to try more than just one. The combination of flavors are endless as one’s imagination, and, in their glass case or gift box displays, one’s eyes gaze as upon them as though upon jewels.
With Valentine’s Day around the corner, I became overcome with temptation and contacted Northlight Baking Co. in Somerville MA for a sampling. The simplicity of online ordering allowed me to choose which macarons I wanted to indulge in for a tasting. I could have kept it simple, and just ordered the Valentine’s 2 piece box with a red hot and passion fruit macaron, but no, I wanted more. I ordered an elaborate 5 piece box with my personal selection: a red hot, a passion fruit, a dirty chai, a london fog, and a ginger.
Feeling festive and jump starting the Valentine sweet fest, I immediately savored and devoured the red hot. Being a dark chocoholic and having a childhood obsession of red hots and hot tamales, the immediate gravitation to the red hot macaron was an obvious choice. The rich, cranberry-red shell, piped with an intoxicating dark chocolate ganache, laced with aleppo and cinnamon, won me over immediately. The meringue shells were light and the ganache was richly satisfying – dark chocolate with a red hot, peppery punch – left me with that lingering kick I was looking for.
Next flavor had me chomping at the bit… the dirty chai. With a dusting of cocoa powder, the spicy shells with the espresso ganache made my tastebuds sing. My two favorite morning flavors combined into one, made me wonder if I could possibly get my daily caffeine fix from this delightful combination.
Visual fascination with the beautiful aqua-blue macaron led me down a road that made me think I was enjoying a high tea in London. Appropriately named – london fog – it was filled with a regal, earl grey ganache with just a hint of vanilla, that led me to quiet thoughts, as I slowly enjoyed its subtle soft flavors, pondering how much fun I was having sampling my sweet macaron quintet.
But the perky, yellow macaron, of which I was the most unsure about, won my heart. The passion fruit macaron, with it’s sweet, juicy flavored ganache and tropical aroma, made me go WOW – this is amazing! No wonder passion fruit is considered one of the most delicious fruits on the planet. I fell in love with this sunny, little macaron that blindsided me with flavor!
This Valentines day, I’m feeling passionate about a magical llttle macaron from Northlight Baking Co.: the passionfruit macaron. The order is in for my Valentine.