Wednesday, March 31, 2010
Kosher Macaroons (Manischewitz and Streit's)
There apparently are several types of cookies that can be referred to as macaroons. But as best I could tell, the two most popular are the coconut/almond based macaroon and the also almond-based (and pronounced the same way) French-style Macaron. Truth be told, not exactly being coconut's biggest fan myself (and the fact that the French style kick serious butt), I am firmly planted in the camp of the French version. But even with the coconut, I do have a soft spot for the Passover style macaroons -- but only the commercially pre-made kind. I know that is wrong on at least 20 different levels, but it's true.
Maybe it's because the canisters that they are sold in are so well-sealed that the macaroons stay nice and moist. (Maybe forever?) Conversely, the homemade or even bakery versions I have had tended to be on the dry side.
There are literally dozens of versions out there, but I picked up two of my favorite flavors. We have the ever popular Manischewitz brand with their version of almond, and then we have Streit's chocolate. We'll start with Manischewitz...
Manischewitz Almond Macaroons:
I like almost any baked good that uses almond paste (or almond flour) as a rule. And I love the smell when you open the seal on these. It's like concentrated marzipan.
Each Macaroon is about the size of a U.S. quarter coin in diameter, only puffy. The tops are nicely browned.
Each macaroon is super soft and moist (but not greasy). There is a slight crunch from the coconut...but not so much that even a coconut hater like me objects.
The taste is a combination of sweet almond (with that slight cherry taste that almond has) and a tiny bit of coconut. I really loved these. If you have never had a macaroon before, this is the one I would start with.
100 calories per 2 macaroons.
Parve, kosher, trans-fat, contains coconut, egg, and wheat.
Streit's Chocolate Macaroons:
Streit's macaroons are slightly wider (closer to a half-dollar size), but more dense than the Manischewitz.
Opening the container you get the classic smell of the combination of coconut and chocolate.
Streit's is another company that has been making fantastic Jewish food products since roughly the dawn of time (well, 1925). To put it into more mainstream context: if Manischewitz is like Coke and Kedem is Pepsi, then Streit's is the Dr. Pepper.
Streit's is also the brand of macaroons whose chocolate flavor I like the most.
The bite on these macaroons is just as moist as the Manischewitz -- but there is a stronger sense of coconut. Texture-wise I am going to give the advantage to the almond Manischewitz. They are a little more crunchy -- by which I mean crunchy in the fibery sense, rather than like a potato chip (or like raw coconut).
The flavor is very much a fudgy cocoa type of chocolate rather than a milk chocolate. It's almost got the slight bitterness to it that actual cocoa powder has. The coconut flavor is there, but it's not so strong that it makes you think you're eating some sort of Mounds cookie (although I know there are people who would kill for that).
Admittedly, side by side, I give the Manischewitz almond the edge because of my love of marzipan. But if you prefer chocolate, you should definitely try the Streit's.
100 calories per 2 macaroons.
Contains eggs and nuts, sulfite free, gluten free, kosher, parve.