Reporting Sibila Vargas
LOS ANGELES (CBS) — Move over cupcakes, a new bite-sized treat is taking over bakery cases across the Southland.
We are talking about French macarons.
But do not mistake macarons for macaroons, the coconut meringue cookie we have been eating here in the U.S. for years.
French macarons are Parisian cookies with a punch of flavor that may just be the next cupcake here in the Southland.
These bite-sized morsels that are bursting with flavors are showing up in bakery cases all over the Southland.
We found some at Bottega Louie in downtown L.A., Europane in Pasadena, Layer Cake in Irvine and Lette in Beverly Hills.
“It’s not a hamburger, it’s a cookie and they say ‘Is it for dogs?’ and I said, ‘No, it’s not for dogs, it’s for you and me,’” said Paulette Koumetz from Lette, referring to the macarons.
“The outside of the macaron is made with white eggs, almond flour and sugar. And in the between, it’s called the ganach,” Koumetz added.
Lette offers a variety of flavors from raspberry frambios to violet cassis.
“I am passionate about macaron, I always have been.” Koumetz said.
“I believe the macaron is the new cup cake,” said Glendale mom, Petra Marin-Cloninger.
She and her daughter, Mattea, practice making macarons at home. They’re both fans of Koumetz’s mini creations.
“That is who I try to measure up to, the Lette macaron,” Marin-Cloninger said laughingly.
She says that the technique to getting the ultimate consistency has to be exact.
“My perfect macaron would be a little crunch on the outside and very moist on the inside,” she said.
Sumi Chang is the macaron master at Europane in Pasadena. Her macarons are a few bites larger than the competition.
“More bite for your buck, thank you,” Chang said.
She says her colorful cookies were inspired by Parisian patisseries.
“I think Italian showed French how to make a macaron, but now French claims they did it first,” Chang said.
Historians say Catherine de Medici introduced the Italian macaron to the French during the mid-16th Century when she married King Henry II of France.
At that time the cookie resembled an Italian ameretti made of egg whites, sugar and almond paste.
“There was no ganach inside, it was just a cookie,” Koumetz said.
French historian Helene Demeestere explains it was not until the 1930s when the Italian macaron received a French facelift at the famous Parisian patisserie Laduree.
“They just put them together with a ganache or a cream or filling like an Oreo cookie,” Demeestere said.
Over the years Laduree’s earned a reputation for its impeccable packaging. Bottega Louie and Lette hope their perfect presentation wins over sweet-toothes of cookie connoisseurs here in the Southland.
“I think that what you see is as important as what you eat,” Koumetz said.
All the macarons we featured range in price from a $1.60 to $2 a piece.
Lette says their cookie is just 100 calories and Europane says theirs are gluten free.