Photos and Words by Estefania Souza
While shop windows of Paris have displayed brightly colored macarons for years, the trend is only just beginning here in the United States. Because the trend is still new in America, it is hard to find a macaron that resembles the classic French ones in size, filling-cookie ratio, and taste. Just last August, Ladurée, a Parisian tearoom famous for its macarons, opened in Manhattan. Lines of people eager to get their hands on these Parisian imports constantly stretched around the block. When I heard about Ladurée’s success in New York, I decided to search for the perfect French macarons here in Boston. After much hunting, I have compiled this guide on the macarons of Boston: Crema Café, Cambridge, MA ($1.50 each)
The first place I had a macaron here in Boston was at Crema, a coffee shop in Harvard Square. The macarons at Crema taste the most homemade out of the macarons I’ve tried. They come in a variety of flavors, although there are usually only one or two kinds available at a time. So far, I have sampled two of Crema’s macaron flavors: rooibos and strawberry-vanilla. While I preferred the rooibos, both flavors are delicious. If you’re going to Crema specifically for macarons make sure to call ahead first because they don’t have them every day.
Beacon Hill Chocolates, Boston, MA ($2 each)
The eye-popping colors of Beacon Hill Chocolates’ macarons make them a fun gift
for friends. Although Beacon Hill Chocolates sells macarons, its focus is more on chocolate so the macaron flavors and supply vary based on the day. I’ve tried both their vanilla and their peppermint macarons. While both had a nice filling to cookie ratio, the vanilla macaron was far better than the peppermint. They are also similar in size to classic French macarons.
Sportello, Boston, MA ($1.50 each)
While Sportello’s macarons are delicious, they are a bit too big. A macaron is about three times the size of a traditional macaron, which is almost too much. I tried all three of their flavors, including Pistachio, Red Velvet, and Black Forest, a chocolate macaron with a cherry cream filling and a candied sour cherry center. I highly recommend Sportello’s macarons based on taste, but if you’re looking for something more traditional in size you might want to try somewhere else.
L.A. Burdick Chocolate, Cambridge, MA ($1 each)
Out of all the places I tried in the Boston-area, L.A. Burdick has the most traditional French macarons. They also have the largest variety of flavors including cinnamon, citrus, coffee, pumpkin, raspberry, chocolate, and pistachio. I found all of their macarons to be excellent, but in my opinion, the raspberry, pistachio, and citrus flavors were the best.
While finding macarons in Boston was not impossible, it did take a bit of research. Macarons are still a fairly new trend here in America, but with an increasing demand, they will likely become more prevalent throughout Boston in the near future. In the meantime, I highly recommend these four places, or you can try making your own using this recipe!
Chocolate Macarons (adapted from Martha Stewart)
- 1 cup confectioner’s sugar
- ½ cup almond flour
- 3 tablespoons unsweetened Dutch-processed cocoa powder
- 2 large egg whites, room temperature
- Pinch of cream of tartar
- ¼ cup superfine sugar
- Pulse confectioners’ sugar, cocoa powder, and almond flour in a food processor until combined. Sift mixture 2 times.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Beat whites with a mixer on medium speed until foamy. Add cream of tartar, and beat until soft peaks form. Reduce speed to low, then add superfine sugar. Increase speed to high, and beat until stiff peaks form, about 8 minutes. Sift flour mixture over whites, and fold until mixture is smooth and shiny.
- Transfer batter to a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-inch plain round tip, and pipe 3/4-inch rounds 1 inch apart on parchment-lined baking sheets, dragging the pastry tip to the side of rounds rather than forming peaks. Tap the bottom of each sheet on a work surface to release trapped air. Let stand at room temperature for 15 minutes.
- Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees. Bake 1 sheet at a time, rotating halfway through, until macarons are crisp and firm, about 10 minutes. Before putting a new sheet of macarons in the oven, increase oven temperature to 375 degrees, heat for 5 minutes, then reduce to 325 degrees.
- Let macarons cool on sheets for 2 to 3 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack. (If macarons stick, spray water underneath parchment on hot sheet. The steam will help release the macarons).
- Sandwich 2 same-size macarons with 1 teaspoon of filling.
Chocolate Ganache Filling
- ½ cup heavy cream
- 3 ½ ounces dark chocolate, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- Bring cream to a boil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Pour cream over chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Let stand for 2 minutes.
- Add butter, then whisk mixture until smooth. Let cool, stirring often. Use immediately.