Following their introduction of whimsically decorated donuts suspiciously similar to those created by Voodoo Doughnuts, Kroger has now debuted its own line of macarons in the bakery case.
On the off chance you've been living Castaway-style on a desert island for the last five years, macarons (not to be confused with macaroons) have usurped the "Dessert Most Desired by the Hoi-Polloi" position once held by the cupcake. Macarons are a most dainty collaboration of meringue-based wafers wedded together via a moist filling, most often buttercream or ganache. Traditional flavors include vanilla, pistachio and raspberry, but these days most anything goes. Due to their sandwich-like architecture, I like to refer to them as “Parisian Oreos,” not because it’s particularly accurate, but rather because it tends to annoy real French people.
Anyway, the fact that the macaron trend has finally trickled down to a supermarket isn’t terribly surprising. What I did not expect was for Kroger’s version to be 1) so freakin’ big (40 percent larger than the average silver dollar size) and 2) broken. The former quality can probably be attributed to the supermarket’s adherence to that ridiculous, unwritten “Everything’s Bigger in Texas” rule; the latter is more puzzling.
On more than one occasion I saw multiple trays of macarons on full display that looked like they had been leveled by a triceratops. Why Kroger thinks its customers would be jonesing to pay $3 for a crushed (albeit large) macaron is beyond me. (However, smack a 50 percent-off sticker on those puppies and I’ll take a dozen!)
After procuring a few unbroken macarons (“No, not that one…not that one either…or that one”), I can say Kroger did a fair job of recreating this traditional treat, though purists will note the heavy reliance on sugar rather than extracts, nuts, or real fruit for flavor. With that in mind, the vanilla and chocolate varieties are better bets than the raspberry or orange.
Postscript: On my most recent trip to Kroger, a kindly bakery attendant actually gave me TWO fractured macarons for the price of one, woefully acknowledging, “Because…they are all broken.” My heart, however, didn’t break; it melted.