We grew up loving Mounds and Almond Joy candy bars, but as our palate for better chocolate grew, we switched to chocolate-dipped coconut macaroons made by artisan bakers. Ah, sweet addiction!
A brief history of macaroons: Coconut macaroons exist mostly because of Passover, the Jewish holiday that proscribes leavened baked goods, among other foods.
The original macaroons were almond meringue cookies similar to today’s amaretti, with a crisp crust and a soft interior, made from egg whites and almond paste. While details are unclear, some historians believe they were first made by Italian monks in the late 15th century.
Benedictine nuns brought the recipe to France in 1533, where the baked treat later evolved into the ganache-filled sandwich cookies—macarons—that we know and love today.
Meanwhile, back in Italy, Jews adopted the cookie because it had no flour or leavening and could be enjoyed during the eight-day observation of Passover. The recipe was introduced to other European Jews and became popular as a year-round sweet. Over time, coconut was added to the ground almonds and, in certain recipes, replaced them.
Coconut macaroons have remained popular in the U.S. and the U.K., where they appear on cookie platters year-round. Here’s the full history of macaroons and macarons.
Dan Cohen, the founder of Danny Macaroons, learned his craft 10 years ago, baking macaroons for Passover and tweaking his recipe over time. Unlike commercial varieties, the centers of Danny Macaroons are soft and moist, while the exteriors are appropriately crisp.
Following the flavor zeitgeist, Danny developed 45 different flavors, which are available in rotation. Currently on the menu: plain macaroons plus Black Chocolate Stout, Baileys McRoons, Bourbon, Chocolate Almond, Chocolate Caramel, Chocolate Dipped, Guava, Maple Pecan Pie, Red Velvet and Salted Caramel.
Buy them online at DannyMacaroons.com. The macaroons cost from $12 to $18 per half dozen, depending on flavor.
Are they an appropriate Valentine gift? Absolutely!
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