Macaron Days

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My husband and I have an arbitrary rule, that we are allowed one holiday-inspired drink at Starbucks a year. The reason for having it only once every 365 days is two-fold: One, it’s too sugary to drink regularly; and two, it makes the cup extra special, knowing that it only comes around once a year. We know that Christmas is around the corner when we take a sip of the Salted Caramel Latte (him) and Peppermint Hot Chocolate (me).

This year’s cup was extra special because we got to pair it with Laduree’s macarons! Our friends recently got married in the groom’s hometown, and since we couldn’t attend the wedding, they brought back a little delicious souvenir from NYC. A several days have passed since the couple’s return to the Southland and these little macarons were a little on the stale side, but they were still heavenly and brought me back to Champs-Elysees in Paris where the famous French tea house, and (as some story has it) the originator of macaron, stands proudly.

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Speaking of maracons, my husband surprised me with more macarons last night —  this time from Renaud’s Patisserie in Santa Barbara (I raved about this place before, here). He asked his co-worker who was coming down from Santa  Barbara to pick up two assorted boxes for us.  I have the best husband in the world (I hope you’re reading this, Kevin!).

I love the holiday season!

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My Favorite Macarons shop in LA: ‘Lette Macarons

I am a shameless bandwagoner when it comes to food trends. I might not be the first one to jump on the newest craze (and may not understand what all the fuss is about at times), but I’ve done my share of waiting in long lines at Sprinkles Cupcakes, Bread Papa’s, and Pinkberry when they first opened their doors to the hungry and curious public. I am surprised that I never got into the food truck phenomenon all that much, but my fiancé and I did fork out a fortune for the Korean BBQ tacos when we spotted the Koji truck parked in our neighborhood.

The current food trend that blows all the others out of the water is the macaron sensation. These delicate French cookies make this Francophile forget about all the warm and fuzzy feelings I once had for pint-size cakes and tangy swirly goodness. They are one of my favorite things in the world, and I know that my love for these little heavenly morsels will last forever, even when something new comes along and eventually takes over the pastry world.

My new favorite macaron shop in Los Angeles is ‘Lette Maracons. I tried it out for the first time over the weekend (at the Little Tokyo location) and fell absolutely in love. They tasted very close to the macarons I ate and loved in Paris, especially the Earl Grey Tea and Rose favored ones.

There are many, many debates on the blogosphere over who has the best macarons in town. I’m no expert in the maracon field, but what makes them perfect, in my book, is the impeccable combination of airiness and chewiness. I love it when the shells flake off and instantly melt in my mouth, while the sweet filling provides the perfect bite of luscious gooey-ness. These ‘Lette macarons provide the perfect pairing of both. It’s no surprise, from the first bite of its macaron, that Paulette Koumetz and Christophe Michalak, two magicians behind this operationare, are authentically French.

I can seriously eat these all day.

The only bone to pick with ‘Lette is this: Why is it that you charge $1.70 for one macaron but charge $10.50 for a box of 6? Shouldn’t it be $10.20?  The box is not worth $0.30.  I was hoping for a price break for buying the set, not realizing that I was paying extra for the box that I didn’t even need or want. Eeek.

‘Lette Maracons
Various Locations: Beverly Hills, Pasadena, and Downtown LA
★★★★★

P.S. Is it just me or does this Colombian Coffee macaron look very much like Baby Ike?

Macarons = True Love

There is a reason why I’m marry this man (aside from the fact that he is the coolest dude around). He knows exactly what I love!  My fiancé bought me a box full of macarons because he knows how much I’m obsessed with these little French cookies. These colorful morsels are from Bodega Louie. They were absolutely heavenly. 🙂

I have to admit that I am still very green when it comes to macarons. I haven’t been to ‘Lette Macarons or any other popular destinations, but out of the small handful of places I’ve tried, these are my favorites so far (Updated August 2011):

Honorable mentions:

I also really liked macarons from Boule. It’s unfortunate that it closed down.  Which places are your favorites? Any recommendations?

Homemade French Macaron Keychains

A line between food and crafts gets very blurry for me sometime. I love making soaps because the mixing and pouring remind me so much of baking luscious cakes.  Making handmade lotion and seeing the emulsifying wax and oil mixture settle into velvety consistency reminds me of yogurt making.  And kneading the polymer clay into cute shapes and baking them in the oven reminds me of baking cookies!

Here’s my new creation:  French macaron keychains!  They may not be the lovely French almond cookies from the famous Laduree in Paris, but they sure are cute!  Here’s a very helpful video tutorial on how to make these heavenly morsels.

Paris in a Box: French Macarons

I ordered a bunch of goodies from Billy (William-Sonoma) this holiday season – from peppermint barks, to hot chocolate mixes, to chocolate croissants (how can I resist one of Oprah’s ultimate favorite things?). They were mostly given out as gifts but I had to get Parisian Macarons from Galaxy Desserts for myself. I tried making these French almond treats at home but ended in utter failure so I had to resort to outside help to satisfy my craving for these lovely cookies during the holidays.

I was most impressed with the way these macarons were delivered. The boxes that contained 24 cookies were placed in a sturdy ice box, then carefully packed in a cardboard box with dry ice. Every cookie arrived uncracked and perfect! Cookies were much smaller than I grew accustomed to in Paris (felt like I got ripped off a bit) and they were little on the grainy side (almonds tasted too coarse) but the creamy fillings were delicious. Out of all the flavors (they came with raspberry, lemon, pistachio, chocolate, vanilla, and espresso), my favorite was pistachio.

If you’re looking to send a cute Valentine’s Day gift, this might not be a bad idea, but at $49 for 24 cookies (plus tax and shipping), I think I’ll be saving that money for my next trip to Paris.