What the heck is a macaron?

Easily put they are a delicious, small cross between a cookie and a cake, made from ground up almonds, other nuts, sugar, egg whites, and many other added flavors.  Coating and fillings are innumerable.  They come in all flavors of the rainbow, and are usually the sparkling highlight of any wedding reception, dessert get-together, or formal party.

I remember stumbling into a French restaurant years ago when I was living in Los Angeles.  After eating, the waiter asked if I would like a macaron with my coffee.  I am embarrassed to say I had never heard of a macaron.  But (wait for it) I had heard of macaroons and have enjoyed those little coconut drop cookies since Mom put them into my school lunch box decades ago.

So I said yes, bring on a macaroon (assuming he had mispronounced the name of the cookie).  In a minute he wheeled out a tower, I mean an actual tower, of brightly colored French macarons.  It must have been three feet high.  He asked me to point to the one I wanted and I picked out a deep purple cookie from the pyramid of maybe 50 macarons.  What a presentation!  I ignored my momentary disappointment that these were not the macaroons of my youth, and dived in.  I ate it, loved it, and was hooked.

I am glad to see that macarons have become a fairly mainstay on bakery menus (and certainly on French bakery menus) in Upstate New York.  Although I will never understand why the French refer to macarons as "priests' belly buttons!

Here are eleven top bakeries that specialize in these wonderful items.  Vive le' Macarons!

French Macarons Dazzle in These Upstate New York Bakeries

French macarons are always the most anticipated (and beautiful) dessert on any wedding food table or pastry buffet. With all the color of the rainbows, these sweet treats are gaining in popularity so that they are almost always on a bakery menu, whether big or small, or in a large city or a small village. So delicious! Here are a bunch of top bakeries specializing in macarons (all are in Upstate New York)

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