Entries Tagged as 'macarons'

November 2, 2011

macaron taste test | whole foods | overland park, kansas

I absolutely love the shopping experience at Whole Foods Market. While the prices can sometimes be steep, I enjoy the atmosphere — the smells of fresh, organic produce, the warm greetings from employees in every area of the store and the amazing selection of deli- and bakery-fresh goodies.

On a recent trip to Whole Foods, while in search of black and white cookies (been craving them ever since I had my first one last winter in New York City), I instead stumbled upon macarons in the sweets display case.

whole foods market macaron display

{Whole Foods showed off its new macarons on the top shelf of the goodies display case.}

After I peered at the macarons for just a minute, a smiling bakery employee told me the macarons were a new addition to the sweets case. I requested one of each and asked her who made them, assuming I could be looking straight into the eyes of a mad-mac genius.

She didn’t know.

Yikes.

After checking with her manager, she then told me that the macarons were shipped in that morning from a California patisserie.

Double yikes.

That could possibly explain a few of the cracked cookies sitting front and center in the display case.

whole foods market macarons closeup

{The passionfruit macaron, front and center, is a bit cracked — doesn't affect the taste, but affects the experience and delight of biting into a crisp-shelled macaron.}

Though I know not everything is locally made from scratch, something about this just…bothered me. Though I still purchased the cookies (I even got one for free), I think the idea of buying shipped-from-many-miles-away macarons at Whole Foods for 99 cents a piece affected my experience with these sweets.

whole foods macarons

Aside from the cracking (I didn’t buy that one), these macarons looked just fine.

Nice footing.

Appropriate filling-to-shell ration.

No bubbles on the shells.

But when I bit into one, the passionfruit macaron, it just seemed…OK. Just OK.

passionfruit whole foods market macaron

{Whole Foods Market's passionfruit macaron was just...fine.}

The cookie had a small crunch to it, and then my tongue was met with a light, creamy filling — just fine — but the crunch didn’t seem as crisp, as light and shell-like, as I thought it should be.

Perhaps the whole shipped-from-California-that-morning thing was still in my mind, but I couldn’t fight the thought that these macarons may have lost some texture in transit.

Although I would rank these macarons higher than Trader Joe’s frozen macarons, I’m still questioning whether I’d buy them again. They’re inexpensive, for macarons, but I’d probably rather shell out a little bit more for a fresh-made, local macaron.

Maybe someone should bring me some Whole Foods macarons to try again, without knowing they’re from Whole Foods/California, so I can give them one more try…

Have you tried macarons from Whole Foods Market? What did you think? Do you know if they were made in-house or shipped in from far away? Tell me about it in the comments section.

October 17, 2011

this makes me happy | natasha’s mulberry & mott opens pop-up shop on country club plaza

On Saturday, I was pleasantly surprised when the teacher man pointed out this sweet sign as we were walking out of the parking garage at Ward and Central on the Country Club Plaza.

natasha's mulberry & mott country club plaza kansas city

{Hello, Natasha!}

My favorite sweets shop, Natasha’s Mulberry & Mott, has opened a pop-up store on the Plaza for the holiday season! Even though I had my heart set on getting ice cream Saturday afternoon, I quickly changed my mind as I wandered into the shop and got a box of macarons to share with the teacher man, my best friend Liz and my friend from high school, Jarid. Neither Liz nor Jarid had had macarons before, so I’m happy I was able to introduce them to my favorite little cookie from my favorite little shop.

natasha's mulberry & mott french macarons box

{I got seven macarons — one of each flavor available that day — and they were beautifully packaged in this sweet macaron box with a hot pink bow. Love it.}

natasha's mulberry & mott french macarons

{These didn't last long. Top row, left to right: Green Apple, Black Currant; middle row, left to right: Strawberry, Almond, Peach; bottom row, left to right: Pistachio, Passionfruit.}

Natasha’s Plaza pop-up store will be open until January 15 — though I hope it gains enough traffic and popularity to stick around for the long haul! In addition to the signature macarons, she has beautiful homemade marshmallows, all sorts of tiny cakes, jumbo cookies and drip coffee, all made fresh daily and trucked in from her Mission Farms location.

If you live in the KC area and have yet to try Natasha’s, you now have no excuse. Unlike the Mission Farms location, the Plaza store is open on Sundays (I’ve had a few sad macaron-free Sundays).

Call me if you need help getting through your box of goodies.

October 7, 2011

macaron taste test | bottega louie | los angeles

When I was in LA this summer, I had the privilege of trying Bottega Louie’s “cupmacs” (my name for them, not theirs). I loved getting a two-for-one deal with my favorite treats, cupcakes and macarons, in these cupmacs, but that doesn’t mean I resisted trying just a plain ol’ macaron from Bottega Louie.

bottega louie los angeles grand cru macaron

{Good gosh, look at that ganache!}

I opted for the “grand cru” macaron from Bottega Louie’s impressive lineup of brightly colored cookies. The grand cru macaron is an almond cookie with dark chocolate ganache that is smooth, sweet and has just the right amount of crunch. I’m not sure where I put this on my list of macarons, but it’s definitely up there. Guess I’ll have to visit again.

bottega louie macarons

{It's true, I only chose one from this delicious lineup. Of course it was the pink one. Photo By Muy Yum/Courtesy Flickr}

Bottega Louie macarons cost $1.75 a piece. While that’s in the range of prices I’ve seen in the KC area, I’d expect the price to be a little cheaper in LA because there’s more competition. Perhaps the bakers just never get a price break on the ingredients — almond flour, high-quality ganache. But, these macarons are the same size as other macarons I’ve had (no skinny LA macarons!) and are totally worth the splurge for a little French cookie.

Have you tried Bottega Louie macarons? What did you think? How much is too much for a cookie? Tell me what you think in the comments section.

August 31, 2011

macaron taste test | the twisted baker | chicago

It’s been a while since I’ve tasted macarons from The Twisted Baker in Chicago. My first experience there, however, was a little hectic.

The teacher man and I visited the Windy City for a long weekend a while back and made sure to hit up the sweet spots on my list. Because we stayed in the Old Town area of the city, a visit to The Twisted Baker just made sense. It was right around the corner from his brother’s digs, and good smells from the bakery were filling the street.

When we got in, it was just one of those mornings. Busy crowd. Not enough help. Crazy cash register malfunctions.

Despite all of the ruckus, I was able to pick out a few treats to sample: cupcakes and macarons! For today’s post, we’ll focus on the macarons.

the twisted baker macarons

{I made sure to share my macarons with the teacher man.}

I chose simple French vanilla macarons to share with the teacher man when we got back to the apartment. At first glance, they seemed OK — smaller footing than I’m used to seeing and a little bit bubbly on top, but nothing too extreme to my naked eye.

Biting into the macaron, it seemed just a little too chewy for my tastes. The Twisted Baker’s macarons lacked that nice airy, crispy shell indicative of a great French cookie. The filling, however, was smooth and luscious — great vanilla flavor without being overpowering.

I’m hoping The Twisted Baker was just having one of those days. I’ve never baked macarons myself, but it seems like everything, including the sun, moon and stars, has to be in perfect alignment for these little guys to come out perfect. Maybe next time things like the rush, crowd and cash register will be aligned so that the bakers and owners don’t have to worry about anything more than producing the perfect macaron.

Have you been to The Twisted Baker? What did you get? Tell me about it in the comments section.

August 23, 2011

poll | which dessert is better?

Happy Tuesday! So, just out of curiosity, how many of you prefer cupcakes to macarons, or vice versa? I’ve only met one person who has said she doesn’t like “those little things” (in reference to macarons!).

Where do you stand? Pie lovers need not comment.


August 17, 2011

macaron taste test | trader joe’s a la parisienne macarons | nationwide

Pastry chefs always recommend keeping your just-bought macarons cool on your way home. They’ve never said anything, though, about defrosting them once you pop them out of the freezer.

Enter Pastry Chef Joe. Trader Joe.

On a recent trip to the trendy chain grocery store in Kansas City, I spotted a box of French macarons in the frozen sweets aisle and couldn’t resist them. At $4.99 for a dozen (that’s about 42 cents a piece for six chocolate and six vanilla macarons!), I figured it’d be worth a try to taste-test them at home with the help of the teacher man.

trader joe's macarons

{Trader Joe's macarons, along with other frozen delights, caught my eye at the trendy grocery store.}

When I opened my box, I noticed a few cracked macarons — no good! Luckily the other 10 looked just fine. They had the delicate footing around the cream filling and the seemingly right texture on top and bottom.

trader joe's vanilla and chocolate macarons

{Trader Joe's macarons come in simple flavors: chocolate and vanilla.}

Unfortunately, upon biting into them, they lacked the nice, crackly shell. The macarons were a bit too chewy, but the creamy filling did make up for the lack of a crispy top. I preferred the chocolate to the vanilla; the filling was more flavorful, though nothing extraordinary.

So, would I shell out $4.99 for another dozen of Trader Joe’s macarons, or instead pay $1.95 for a couple from Natasha’s Mulberry & Mott in Leawood? Probably the latter. While Trader Joe’s frozen macarons were fine, you just can’t beat fresh-made, local macarons with a crisp shell and soft center.

February 2, 2011

dessert csa | natasha’s mulberry & mott | leawood, kansas

Though I’ve been paring down most subscriptions – magazines, e-newsletters, catalogs – I think I may soon be signing up for the type of subscription that will truly make me happy: a monthly dessert subscription from local bakery (and my macaron mecca) Natasha’s Mulberry & Mott.

natasha's mulberry & mott leawood kansas

{Natasha's Mulberry & Mott is located in the Mission Farms area of Leawood, Kansas. Photo Courtesy Natasha's Mulberry & Mott}

Inspired by San Francisco pastry chef William Werner’s (of Tell Tale Preserve Company) “Tell Tale Society” dessert subscription service – lightly called a “dessert CSA” after the idea of fresh-produce CSAs (community-supported agriculture) – local pastry chef Natasha Goellner brought the idea to life in the Kansas City metro after an initial online conversation started by The Pitch’s Fat City blog.

“The dessert CSA goodies will change every month,” Natasha says. “Every time, you will always get macarons, but it will be flavors that aren’t yet offered at the shop. It’s all seasonal, too.”

Half a dozen macarons a month in addition to other fresh-made goodies from this French Culinary Institute-trained pastry chef? Sold.

natasha's mulberry & mott macarons

{Macarons from Natasha's Mulberry & Mott in Leawood are the best in the Kansas City-area! Photo Courtesy Natasha's Mulberry & Mott}

Natasha’s Mulberry & Mott dessert CSA launched last month with a box packed full of the following oh-so-delicious treats:

6 Amaretto Macarons
4 Almond Scones
10 ounces Blueberry Preserves
Bag of Pistachio Marshmallows
6-8 Coconut White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies
4-5 “fingers” of Candied Buddha Hand

Natasha is gearing up for February’s dessert CSA now – have you ordered your box of delicious, beautiful, local treats for yourself or your Valentine? :)

Here’s how it works: Every second Saturday of the month (this month, that would be February 12), Natasha will have the dessert CSA boxes ready for pickup at her shop, located at 10573 Mission Road in Leawood. The cutoff date for ordering your box of goodies every month is the Monday before the Saturday pickup. All you have to do is call or come in to the shop to reserve and pay for your dessert CSA. Dessert CSA boxes cost $35 plus tax – quite the steal for all those goodies!

November 27, 2010

this makes me happy | birthday celebrations

It’s my birthday! Though I’ve been celebrating all month :) there’s nothing like the spectacle of your special day. Here’s a peek inside a few of the fun things that I’ve been celebrating with this month:

jalapeno yellowtail sashimi from kona grill

{Delicious jalapeno sashimi from Kona Grill}

bouquet of flowers

{Beautiful bouquet of flowers from my teacher man}

torchon de foie gras from bluestem

{Starting a romantic birthday dinner with torchon de foie gras at bluestem in Kansas City. Photo By ulterior epicure/Courtesy Flickr}

macarons from natasha's mulberry & mott in leawood, kansas

{Gorgeous multicolored macarons from Natasha's Mulberry & Mott}

hot pot squid

{Cooking squid and other yummies in the hot pot with my family}



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