If you've had the good fortune to visit Paris, you've seen macarons -- and maybe even come home with a small box or two of them in your carry-on. They're hard to resist, decked out in a spectrum of colors and piled on plates, calling out from bakery windows.
In Syracuse, at places like the Central New York Regional Market, Cafe Kubal, LoFo in Armory Square and the Syracuse Real Food Co-Op, some lovely, locally made macarons have no doubt caught your eye. They are the signature product of The Sweet Praxis, an artisan bakery launched several years ago Natalie Hansen and Jennifer Walls.
Sweet Praxis macarONS are not to be confused with chunky, chewy American macarOONS, which are made with coconut. Macarons are delicate confections, made with egg whites, sugar and almond flour. You could call them a cookie -- a light-as-a feather cookie -- sandwiched together with jam, icing or ganache filling.
The beauty of macarons is that they can be made in every flavor imaginable. Hansen and Walls take full advantage of that, offering macarons in flavors like hot chocolate, salted chocolate, almond, raspberry, lemon, orange cardamom, toasted coconut, pistachio -- the possibilities are endless.
The friends also make mini cupcakes and whoopie pies and sell frosting shots at their stand at the Regional Market (in season). All of their products are made with locally sourced organic ingredients whenever possible and with no artificial colors and flavors.
Hansen and Walls are gearing up for Valentine's Day. If you're looking for something out of the ordinary, as a gift to a loved one (or yourself!), consider a gift box of heart-shaped macarons by The Sweet Praxis. And don't wait until the last minute!
For Valentine's Day, Walls and Hansen are taking special orders for heart-shaped macarons in gift boxes ( 6 for $11 or 12 for $20). Each gift box will contain an assortment of almond, rose, lemon, salted chocolate, lavender and orange cardamom macarons. They are also offering chocolate raspberry mini cupcakes in gift boxes (two for $5 or six for $10).
Orders must be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org no later than 5 p.m. Monday, Feb. 10. Pick-ups are available from 5 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, February 13. Delivery is available in Syracuse for $10.