For the perfect gluten-free treat that everyone will enjoy, try macarons. Macarons are naturally gluten-free, the shell's made with almond flour, egg whites and sugar. Fillings can range from jams to buttery ganaches. With macarons popping up everywhere from Maison Ladurée in New York to the world's first macaron truck, Sweet Spot Macarons, in Chicago, they are the trendiest treat this holiday season.
If you can't find a pâtisserie making macarons near where you live, there are plenty of options that ship as well. My favorite place to go for artisanal treats is Etsy, and the site has plenty of great macaron sellers.
First, I tried macarons from Sparkles Macaron. These macarons arrived in absolutely perfect condition, packed in a lovely little soft side cooler with insulated lining.
"We had a hard time in the beginning trying to protect them," says owner Karen Li. "But we were determined to offer a happy macaron experience to every single customer, which includes receiving perfect macarons." The careful shipping paid off. There wasn't one crack in my assortment of twelve, and the colors were simply beautiful. From traditional Asian flavors, like Ume (plum) and black sesame, to a fragrant lavender reminiscent of my time in Provence, each macaron has a very distinct taste, with the lightest of shells.
Candied Meringue has some great flavors too, like almond and vanilla creme, and they try to use organic ingredients whenever possible. That includes not using any food coloring in the batch I received. The muted colors had no impact on the sharp burst of flavor, however.
"I only use natural food color gel for Red Velvet, Orange Creme and Lemon," says owner Cynthia Dai. "Most of the time I try to stay away from any coloring and let the customers seek out the flavor through taste and not by airbrushing different colors onto the macaron shells."
At Bokolette, macarons are individually wrapped to seal in their flavor. Bokolette's black winter truffle with roasted hazelnut macaron wins for the most mind-blowing flavor. I also really enjoyed the passionfruit cacao, which balanced its tart fruity flavor with a deeper cocoa flavor really nicely. Spiced caramel apple was another winner, with a holiday spiced caramel filling and bits of dried green apple. Bokolette's macarons have a bit more chew to them than Sparkles Macaron, but I thoroughly enjoyed both styles.
Do you have any favorite macaron spots I need to check out? Leave me a note and let me know.