Trader Joe’s Satisfies the Macaron Fiends

Trader Joe's Macarons à la Parisienne

Trader Joe's Macarons à la Parisienne

I Paid: $4.99 for a box of 12 cookies (prices may vary by region)

Taste: 4 stars

Marketing: 5 stars

French macarons: the cupcakes of tomorrow of yesterday. (Depending upon whom you talk to, the cupcakes of tomorrow of today are whoopie pies, plain old pies, or cake lollipops.)

So Trader Joe's may have been a little behind the curve with its macarons (which are just rolling out in some regions after first showing up about a year ago), but the effort is easy to appreciate: The picture on the box looks just like real, bakery-made French macarons in chocolate and vanilla varieties. And, in fact, the macarons themselves look like real, bakery-made items (they come frozen but thaw out in about half an hour). And, well, sure, they even taste like it.

The ganache is a bit too thick and a bit too sweet, but the macarons themselves have a nice balance of crisp and chew. All things considered, if you're fiending for a decent macaron, Trader Joe's has really come through for you. If you're fiending for a great macaron, you'll have to go to an actual bakery—but that's a pretty reasonable thing to ask.

James Norton edits the Upper Midwestern food journal Heavy Table. He's also the coauthor of a book on Wisconsin's master cheesemakers. Follow CHOW on Twitter, and become a fan on Facebook.