Thursday, January 28, 2010

I Love Macarons!!! (Compile of Some Places I've Tried)

This is such a long overdue post. Ohhhhhhhh!

They're tiny and round! They're crunchy yet light on the outside and chewy and creamy in the inside! They are sweet and colorful! They're macarons! Macarons are different from macaroons but sound similar. These tiny French cookies are to die for. Unlike macaroons which are made with shredded coconuts, macarons are made out of almonds. The ingredients in macarons are little and simple, but making them is another story. It is hard to get the chewy texture right considering the cookies are pretty thin. And since they are so hard to make right, I treasure them and appreciate the bakers and the cookies very much.

Here are some of the places I've tried so far.

Bouchon Bakery
6528 Washington St, Yountville, CA and
3355 Las Vegas Blvd S, Las Vegas, NV

I know I said macarons are tiny cookies, but at Bouchon, they are known for their big ones. Even though they are bigger, they are still very chewy! I think of all the places I've tried, Bouchon has the biggest macarons but also the sweetest, probably from the very rich buttercream! The cookies are pastel colors. Bouchon's macarons are at the pricer since they are bigger, costing $2.50/ each.

I have tried both locations, and found that the one in Las Vegas has more flavors!

Miette Patisserie
1 Ferry Building #10, San Francisco, CA

I love Miette's hazelnut flavored macaron! Another one of my favorite is their pistachio. It tasted so different from all other pistachio ones I have...the pistachio and the almond compliment each other so well. Unlike most macaron shops, I can split Miette's macaron in half without making a mess with crumbs. It is so in form, chewy and dense. Also, you can distinctively see the almond crumbs in the cookies itself.

Miette's macarons are regular size, which is about 1 1/2 inch. Miette doesn't use food coloring in their macarons, so they are of whatever color the ingredients are. Couple of the flavors look very similar, but still different by a bit. Miette's macarons are super chewy and not as sweet as others, which is perfect for my taste buds. They are only $1.75/each!

9466 Charleville Blvd, Beverly Hills, CA

Paulette's macarons are thinner and lighter compared to other ones I've tried. Maybe because it is thinner, it is also not as chewy.

The shop also offers many, many flavors. Some are very interesting flavors such as Earl Grey Tea, New Orleans Praline, Pumpkin and Caribbean Chocolate.

La Boulange
2325 Pine Street, San Francisco, CA

La Boulange offers about ten seasonal flavors including their standards such as chocolate, strawberry and coconut. The strawberry macaron is jam filled instead of cream filled. Their macaron is also not as chewy and more airy. So one bite, and the cookie cracks.

The macarons at La Boulange is also at the less pricey side, costing about $1.50 each.

Pamplemousse Patisserie et Cafe
2401 Broadway St, Redwood City, CA

Okay, I must start off saying that Pamplemousse really know how to make their sandwiches, cake-formed desserts. One thing that they are not so good at though, is their macarons. Despite the many flavors of macarons they offer (35 flavors!), they are by far one of the not so good ones I  had. The macarons are indeed cruncy on the outside but not chewy in the inside at all. The cookie is so airy that holding it was a problem. It just breaks because it's hollow beneath the thin cunchy layer. There is a huge air space between the outter edge and the inner edge of one macaron cookie. With that said, biting into it just cause the whole cookie to crumble. The thing that makes the macarons okay at Pamplemousse is the filling. The filling tasted like what the flavor supposed to be. Oh yes, and it also have a pretty crusty edge compared to other places.

The Bakery at Andronico
1200 Irving Street, San Francisco, CA
Well, just to make things clear, the bakery was not meant to sell macarons, they are just there for the variety and choices. The macarons from Andronico are not very good. It is crunchy on the outside and just slightly chewy in the inside. The turn off for the macarons from Andronico is that, it doesn't taste the flavor that it is said to be. Also, the cookies seem like they have been in the display for a long while. The bakery also lack flavor choices, which I don't really blame them since they have so many others cookies and bakery items to make.

Bittersweet Chocolate Cafe
2123 Fillmore St, San Francisco, CA

Bittersweet Chocolate Cafe is known for their chocolates! I walked in to get their hot cocoa, and unintentionally saw that they have chocolate macarons! So I just had to buy some to try. I can sense that both my hot cocoa and the macarons are going to be very rich in chocolate flavor since I am in a chocolate cafe! The macaron is made out of non-chocolate cookies with a chocolate buttercream. Like I expected, it was very chocolatey! It is also crunchy and chewy, but very sweet! I love the chocolate tastes, but I think it would go great with black coffee instead of a hot cocoa though, just to tone down the sweetness.

Cake House
3250 Olympic Blvd Suite 103, Los Angeles, CA

Cake House has many nice pastry and dessert, nonetheless, macarons too. There are many to choose from and they are all individually packaged. I tried the mocha and the pistachio ones. They are both pretty dry and not chewy at all. Height-wise, Cake House has tall and bulky macarons. Anyhow, the cookies were okay. The buttercream was okay, it didn't taste like what it was supposed to be, especially the pistachio one.

Cocola Bakery
3251 20th Ave, Ste 186, San Francisco, CA

Wow, Cocola's macarons are almost as big as Bouchon but still not big enough. I couldn't settle for which flavor to get, so I ended up buying a box of smaller assorted flavors...Rose, Raspberry, Chocolate, Mocha, Pistachio and Orange. The package is so cute and colorful, it makes a perfect gift. The macarons from Cocola is breakable on the crust, but filled with chewiness in the inside. The exterior of the macaron is on the very crackable side but it still retains the chewiness inside. The buttercream so good and rich! It tasted exactly like whatever the flavor named. The raspberry one is super fruity and the rose flavor one tasted very floral.

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