The cupcake craze has has sweeping the country since Carrie Bradshaw and company put The Magnolia Bakery on the map. But after ten years of small, iced supremacy, the humble cupcake is losing ground to the fun, flavorful macaron.
Now this isn't the coconut puff we grew up with (we'll spell that macaroon so as to avoid confusion. No, these confections have a highly French pedigree, made of a delicate, airy almond-meringue shell surrounding a center of cream or butter.
The history of the macaron can be traced back to Catherine di Medici, who brought the Italian pastry (named "maccarone," from "ammaccare," to crush or beat, referring to the primary ingredient, almond paste) to France in the sixteenth century. But the treat in it's modern sandwich form owes to legendary Paris patissier Ladurée, who was the first to put the macaron shells around a ganache filling.
Across the pond, macarons have exploded — found in France at not only esteemed bakeries like Ladurée and Pierre Hermé, not also at, believe it or not, McDonald's.