Last Friday morning I walked to Desserts by Michael Allen from my apartment to get cookies for our most recent Chocolate Chip Cookie Championship taste test. Although the walk was probably less than 15 minutes, it felt much, much longer. If you don't recall, last Friday was the day that Mother Nature decided to whip out her gusts of freezing cold wind, thus ending the mild weather we've been having and reminding us that winter is going to kick our butts.
So I soothed myself with some French pastries: a torrone macarone and a canelé. I don't eat this way for breakfast every day—I swear.
I generally approach macarons in New York City with low expectations. Most of them disappoint me, and sometimes I can sense what a macaron will taste like just by looking at it. Unfortunately, the torrone macaron ($2.25) did not break this cycle of macaron-induced sadness. The bumpy crust was too dry and thick, and beneath that was an unappealingly large air pocket between the crust and the gooey center. But the worst part was the flavor: it reminded me of cotton candy. I know if something is supposed to taste like torrone it will probably be sweet, but this macaron tasted like it was 99% sugar. That's definitely not right.
Luckily, my morning was redeemed by the canelé ($1.50): crisp on the outside, custardy on the inside, and just the right amount of sweetness. It wasn't as deeply caramelized as others I've had, but that didn't make it any less tasty. The snackable nub of vanilla custard was a welcome part of my unbalanced breakfast.
Desserts by Michael Allen
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