Macaroons, for me, encompassed everything that was wrong in Passover cuisine: canned, artificial “treats” with the texture of an overpriced mealy apple sold at a theme park, tasting anywhere from bland to bad.
With the publication of The Macaroon Bible, Danny Macaroons founder Dan Cohen sets out to redeem the cookie from this unfortunate affiliation. The cookbook introduces a new generation of the homemade macaroon, accented by beautiful photographs (by Alice Gao) and cartoon anthropomorphized representations of the cookies, and explores how far it can reach in flavor profiles. From bourbon to hibiscus to s’more incarnations, Cohen’s book is a creative reminder that macaroons “aren’t so much coconut cookies as they are cookies that utilize coconut as the vehicle to deliver happiness to mouths” to coconut lovers and the coconut-curious alike.
Though a bit frivolous for a year-round cookbook, The Macaroon Bible is a worthy addition to the Passover culinary library — especially for those with children or teens at home for the holiday: they’ll delight in the flavor variations and the ease with which they can be made. The directions are straightforward and easy to follow, and Cohen writes the entire list of ingredients and instructions for each cookie instead of referencing back to the staple vanilla macaroon: open the book to the macaroon you want to make, and all the information you need is right on that one page. A cute anecdote or encouraging comment accompanies each recipe. The Macaroon Bible is written with a charming humor that only occasionally misses the mark, slipping briefly into millennial self-assurance; overall, Cohen’s writing is engaging and approachable — much like his recipes!
With the exception of a vegan variation at the end of the book, the macaroons all call for condensed milk — something to keep in mind for those looking for a pareve dessert recipe. Macaroons are, however, inherently gluten-free, though the book makes no mention of it, and they keep well. The variations that Cohen provides range from sophisticated and subdued to sweet and smothered, but there is still plenty of room to experiment with your favorite flavors! Notes, index.
Nat Bernstein is the former Manager of Digital Content & Media, JBC Network Coordinator, and Contributing Editor at the Jewish Book Council and a graduate of Hampshire College.