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Are Macaroons the New Cupcake?

The cupcake's frosted monopoly may soon be crumbling


So long cupcakes. After numerous years at the top of the dessert stratosphere, the cupcake's frosted monopoly may soon be crumbling due to the equally versatile macaroon.

Macaroons usually consist of a few simple ingredients: egg whites, sugar, vanilla and flaked coconut. They now come in all shapes, sizes and flavors, including more exotic varieties like chestnut-whiskey, coffee, pumpkin and espresso.

Believed to have first appeared in Italy in the 1500s, the macaroon has been steadily gaining momentum among dessert-o-philes of late. According to the November issue of Food Network Magazine, macaroons "are popping up everywhere."

Macaroon recipes vary from country to country--Spain incorporates hazelnuts, Turkey and France use almonds, and Ireland and the United States utilize coconut as the main ingredient.

"Our most popular macaroon is the chocolate-dipped coconut, which go like hot-cakes, selling out everyday," said Hannah Bowker of Pamela's Bakery in Eagle.

Part of macaroons' longevity and popularity may also be due to the incorporation of the sweet, flourless treat during Jewish Passover, qualifying them for the eight-day, yeast-free menu.

"We make macaroons with a purpose," said Andrea Maricich, owner of Salt Tears Coffeehouse and Noshery. Maricich makes these popular desserts for her gluten-free customers and is also excited about incorporating cocoa nibs into her recipe.

Whether your affinity lies with the French almond and meringue macaroon or the American coconut variety, these little cookies are making a single-serving splash on par with the great cupcake revival.