I would have been willing to bet that macarons, the notoriously high-maintenance technicolor sandwich cookies, would be the last holdouts on the increasingly trendy heritage grain train. The almond flour–based confections, which are sold at McDonald’s in France and have their own designated holiday, seem too delicate to lend themselves to New York’s hearty local grains.
But the folks at Bien Cuit have been testing macaron recipes using amaranth, rye and buckwheat — and lo and behold, they’ve just released a line of heritage grain confections.
The bakery collaborated with GrowNYC and farmers at the Greenmarket to source local grains from North Country Farms, Maine Grains and Cayuga Pure Organics. They’ve combined amaranth with honey, rye with pumpkin and buckwheat with Meyer lemon to complete what may be the world’s first-ever alternate grain macarons.
The process was not without its challenges — “because the grains we are using have differing levels of gluten and different absorption rates, each flavor of macaron has a slightly different recipe to produce a similar product. It required a lot of testing to get the cookies just right,” executive chef Justin Binnie told us. If successful, the project could go a long way towards destigmatizing heritage grains and encouraging other chefs to experiment with local products.
Next time you’re in Cobble Hill, visit the bakery and buy a tin — you’ll be supporting the New York grainshed and a small-scale business at the same time.