I recently received two tubs of macaroons from my friends at St. Julien Macaroons. Now in full disclosure, I am a huge fan of all things macaroon. First off, let’s have a little lesson in macaroons. There are two distinct types – the more traditional almond-based variety à la France and then the coconut clustery-type that you’ll often find on the shelves of your favorite supermarket. St. Julien’s are the former – thin, crisp, and naturally gluten-free from an ingredient standpoint. Their recipe apparently dates from the 17th Century and these little gems have even been featured on Food Finds on the Food Network.
Living and working in New York City affords me the opportunity to enjoy pretty much any type of food at any time. Heck, there is even a French macaron shop around the corner from my office that flies them in from France and yes, they are pretty amazing but I can safely say that I have a new favorite among macaroons – however you want to spell it.
St. Julien’s are perfectly sized small cookies that are big on taste. I sampled both their traditional almond (plain) and cocoa flavors. The plain variety is really anything but. It has the absolute perfect texture that separates the real macaroons from the wannabees. At first bite your teeth gently crunch into the outer crust only to be rewarded with a wonderfully soft and chewy center that defines the perfect macaroon. The rich almond flavor is perfectly balanced by just the right amount of sweetness that plays perfect compliment these simple yet complex tasting cookies.
The cocoa variety was really over the top. Somehow they managed to let the dark richness of the cocoa shine through without being overpowering and allowing for the subtle almond undertones to shine through with each bite. These could quite possibly be the most perfect chocolate macaroon I have come across to-date.
It is amazing that with just a few simple (and real) ingredients such a glorious cookie can emerge. My friends at St. Julien Macaroons clearly know what they are doing. The nice thing about these macaroons is that they arrive in great containers that you can (and must) either throw in the refrigerator or freezer for storing. I have mine in the refrigerator and let me tell you that when my macaroon fix must be satiated, I simply pop a few onto a plate and quite literally within minutes they are at room temperature and taste as though they were just baked. Macaroons should always be served at room temperature by the way so that you can enjoy the contradiction between crisp and chewy (in a good way) that is the perfect macaroon.
Be sure to head on over to St. Julien’s Web site to learn more about them and to place an order right online so that these delicious treats can soon be making their way right to your front door.