Aaah, spring -- it’s finally sprung! After months of craving comfort foods, I’m about to start lightening things up a little, meaning, thoughts of heavy puddings are pushed aside in favour of smaller, lighter sweet treats.
Today I’m sharing an easy spring dessert that I first discovered a few years ago in Paris: the macaron craquelé (or macarons de Nancy).
These are not your typical, tricky-to-make macarons. With just 3 ingredients in the cookies, they are a cinch to make. Different than the macarons you’re probably used to seeing, these are supposed to have cracked tops -- they are more like a cookie texture than delicate, airy macarons. These are macarons à l’ancienne, as they were eaten before Ladurée created the version most of us know today.
What's the best macaron you’ve ever had and where?
Macarons craquelés (Macarons de Nancy)
It’s said that macarons originated back in the late 1700s when Carmelite nuns baked sweet cookies with almond meal as a way of supplementing their meat-free diet. According to the Larousse Gastronomique, these nuns followed Theresa of Avila’s principle to the letter: “Almonds are good for girls who don’t eat meat.” During the French Revolution, two nuns in hiding in the French town of Nancy started making and selling macarons, becoming known as “Les Soeurs Macarons.” In 1952, the street where their bakery and store was located was named after them and macarons de Nancy are still sold there today.
The original cookie was simply ground almonds, sugar and egg whites, and not sandwiched together with ganache. The macarons craquelés that I ate in Paris had a thin filling joining two flat cookies together, which I’ve used in this recipe to make these “plain” cookies just a little fancier.
I filled mine with a strawberry cream cheese frosting and coloured them pink for spring, but they really are so very versatile that you can make them in virtually any colour and fill them with an appropriately flavoured filling (check out some other fabulous Philly frostings that would be perfect to sandwich these cookies together!).
In the mood to learn more? Then let’s choux! Click the photo below to learn how to make choux pastries.