Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Ingrediant* (for Ingredient*)

A new bakery has opened in Albany and I stopped in the other day to try my very first macaron—that's French for macaroon, sans the shredded coconut and the second letter o. But despite the name, it's really a different cookie altogether: two delicate meringue wafers surrounding a sweet, creamy filling. The delectable dainties are light as a feather and small, round, and shiny as a half-dollar coin, if rather more expensive ($2.50 a pop or $2.00 for five or more). The TC Bakery features these tiny treats, which look like colorful little dollhouse hamburgers or wee flying saucers; some say the best of the batch are those laced with the bakery's homemade caramel. Their classically trained chefs use top-notch ingredients like Plugrá butter and Valrhona chocolate and make their own flavored extracts. The macarons come in varieties such as pistachio; lemon; maple-walnut; lime and basil; orange; raspberry; "chocolate infinity"; salted caramel; pecan praline, Earl Grey and milk chocolate; the intriguing ube or "purple yam"; an equally enchanting "rose garden"; and (still in the works) vanilla and olive oil. They're notably difficult to make well, but if you're a home baker and want to give them a try, there are videos and recipes online. Back when I was younger, I used to have a problem with the spelling of ingredient, unsure if it ended in -ent or -ant. A friend handed me this helpful mnemonic: Ants like picnics, but you don't want to find them as ingredients in your food. Which is undoubtedly the case, notwithstanding the edible "chocolate-covered" kind. Although if anyone could make them taste très bon, it's the folks who brought you the macaron! Today's typo turns up twice in OhioLINK, and 44 times in WorldCat.

(Pierre Hermé's "Olive Oil and Vanilla" macaron., 2009, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

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