A new and lavish dessert has stuffed its way into the candy cases at The Sweet Granada! if you have not seen the colorful addition to the menu for yourself, let me proudly introduce you to this sweet treat.
But first, meet Haley Brinkman. She is the marvelous mind behind Market Macarons, a home-based macaron business that began and dramatically took off within the last year. After being insired by a family friend, Haley realized that there was nothing quite like the macaron in Emporia. With her challenge accepted, research done, and several failed attempts her motivation was strong and she was determined to master the macaron.Haley has partnered with The Sweet Granada in hopes to bring her versions of this dainty French masterpiece to her community, where so much emphasis is put on shopping local. While Brinkman has only just begun her journey in the world of macarons, the fancy little sandwich cookies have been around for centuries.
One of the coolest pieces of trivia I gained from my research was that in the 8th century, macarons rolled out of the kitchens of Venetian monasteries. It was because of this that they became know as "priests' belly buttons" because of their perfectly circle shape, according to the blog The History of the Delicious Macaron. Kind of gross but nonetheless amusing.
There was not a whole lot of information on these so-called "belly buttons" except for the fact that they were not like the macarons we know and love today. The earliest macarons were made of a single meringue cookie; small, and circular in shape made with three simple ingredients, almonds, egg whites, and sugar. This same recipe became known throughout Italy and found it's way into the kitchen of the Medici family. It is thought that Catherine de Medici was responsible for taking them over the France in the 16th Century.
This same style of macarons took hold and became popularized in France by two nuns trying to made a living who made and sold them during the French Revolution. They became so well known that the nuns were given the nickname the "Macaron Sisters" and they soon had a patisserie (pastry shop) named after them where you can still buy a box of the original mararons that helped transform them into such an awe-inspring dessert.
However, it was not until the early to mid 1800's that the macaron became revolutionized by a pastry chef in Paris and became what we now visualize when we hear the word "mararon."
Pierre Desfontaines, a pastry chef in a Parisian bakery called Laduree, introduced the "Macaron Parisien" by perfecting the original cookie recipe that had been passed down for centuries and sticking two together with a filling. The meringue recipe for the cookies remained similar to that of the 8th century and to this day is comprised of the same three ingredients. The filling is where most of the flavors are added often throughout a buttercream or ganache filling but flavors can be added to the cookies themselves as well. They became a delicacy in the shop and 155 years later it is still considered the place to get a macaron, or so I have read.
The macaron has undergone a tremendous makeover throughout history and pastry chefs, entrepreneurs, and curious bakers at home are continuing to play with recipes and see what new flavor combinations they can come up with and how they can made them unique.
Not all of us can catch a place to France, so we might not ever get out hands on an original macaron or to set foot in the stunning store front that is Laduree. However, lucky for us, The Sweet Granada's newest craze isn't going anywhere. Market Macarons is here to be shared, tried, tasted, and enjoyed, They are available exclusively at The Sweet Granada and come in a variety of flavors which will vary from season to season which as lemon, raspberry, Oreo, mocha, Fruity Pebble, and pumpkin spice. It seemed to be a no brainer when I asked Haley what her favorite one is, Oreo! My personal recommendation is the Fruity Pebble. Bu the variety of flavors offers something for every age palate.