Macaroons popping up across Chicago area

December 9, 2013 1:22:29 PM PST
You might have heard about macarons. Those are the tiny, French sweets that look like miniature sandwiches -- not to be confused with macaroons, which are typically sweetened balls of coconut and egg whites.

The Hungry Hound says there's a new macaroon now available in Chicago, and it's worth seeking out.

You wouldn't expect to see chocolate macaroons on the counter as a $2.25 impulse buy at places like Belly Shack in Logan Square, but that's what's been happening around town lately. Tiny sweets showing up in unlikely places.

Dan Cohen spends a lot of time cracking eggs, then separating the whites and beating them until they form soft peaks. That's because his New York City-based business, Danny Macaroons, produces nothing but the namesake.

"Ultimately, it's a coconut-based cookie with egg whites and sweetened with sugar; I use sweetened condensed milk," said Cohen.

He also uses vanilla extract, and a ton of freshly-grated coconut.

"With coconut macaroons there are two camps: there's the sweetened condensed milk camp, which these macaroons fall into, and there's the sweetened with just traditional cane sugar," he said.

The beaten egg whites act as a leavening agent. Each tiny ball is measured, then placed on a cookie sheet. Then each one has to be rolled by hand, to form a tighter sphere. Once they come out of the oven, the room smells just heavenly. But he's not done. He'll dip them in melted chocolate, or even drizzle them with some homemade caramel sauce, depending on which of his three dozen or so flavors he's making.

"Maple pecan pie and s'mores and spiced pumpkin macaroons," said Cohen. "We'd like to bring influences from all over the place. We've even got one with potato chips, pretzels and Butterfinger."

Now all of the macaroons are being produced in New York City for now. However, due to popularity, they're most likely going to open a facility here in Chicago, and his book, "The Macaroon Bible" is out on store shelves now.

Danny Macaroons' Chicago locations:

Arcedium coffee - St. Charles
Artisanal - Wilmette
Artizone
BellyQ
Belly Shack
Caffe Streets
Lincoln Park Zoo
Chicago Health Foods
East Bank Club
Filter Cafe
Goddess and the Grocer
JP Graziano Grocery
Foodease at Water Tower Place
Little Beans
La Colombe
Southport Grocery
The Haute and the Dog
Whispers Cafe

Pop ups at Bow Truss coffee

The Macaroon Bible available in bookstores now.


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