Thursday, June 19, 2014

More Frozen Macarons!

Looka Frozen Macarons- Walmart: Berlin, NJ
It seems like frozen macarons are available everywhere these days. The last batch I reviewed was from Trader Joe's, which is known for having unique and gourmet food items, but now even convenience store chains have begun selling their own version. Even Walmart! That's right, I got a box of frozen macaron cookies from Walmart. Before I get started let me say that frozen macarons will never be as delicious as bakery fresh ones, the eating experience is entirely different, but I did enjoy the premade and frozen Trader Joe's version (especially the pumpkin ones), how will Walmart's compare?

Surprisingly, I like this packaging more than the one from Trader Joe's. Although the broken up panel design on the front feels like some kind of magazine ad from the 90's,  the back is really well done. If only the front was more like the image above the nutritional information. That back panel image would have made for a more modern and visually interesting design, but this is still way better than Trader Joe's. (Which looked old and faded, but not in the hip vintage way.) 

The packaging may be better laid out, but this brand offers less flavors. While Trader Joe's had 6 different macarons to choose from, two of each flavor, this box only has 4.

The flavors are:
  • Chocolate
  • Vanilla
  • Raspberry
  • Pistachio
After following the thawing instructions it was time to eat!

I'm just going to go right down the list, starting with chocolate.

This flavor is the only one in this package with something added to the cookie itself. From the looks of it, this appears to have some kind of chocolate flecks mixed into the batter? I don't think it's cocoa powder, since the dots are a part of the cookie and they don't brush off, so I think this was some kind of chocolate add-in that was mixed in before baking. (But I could be wrong.)

There is a noticeable chocolatey scent, similar brownie or hot cocoa mix, which is a little processed and overly sweet, but still appetizing.

It may look like I cut it, but this is actually a bite! I'm kinda impressed. (Good job teeth.)
I took a bite of the little chocolate pastry, and it was really moist and chewy. Fresh macarons are supposed to have a light and crispy meringue-like outside with a moist and flavorful center, kind of like Pavlova, but the outside of this was barely crisp at all.  Actually, this was even less crisp than the Trader Joe's variety, so this is even less like a macaron you would find at a real bakery, but it was still pretty yummy. The flavoring was more on the generic fudge brownie side, but I did enjoy it quite a bit. If you're the kin of person who likes brownie batter ice creams, I bet you'd really like the flavor and texture of this one.

Next up, vanilla.

This time there's no fancy colors or mix ins, this is just a creamy off-white pastry. The scent was really mellow but attractive, like French vanilla ice cream, and I wish I had lotion that smelled just like this. (I am all about the food scented body products. As if you couldn't tell by my obsession with food on this blog.)
I know that people are always using vanilla as a way to say things are plain or boring, but this cookie turned out to be my favorite of the four. It smelled sweet and creamy, and when I took a bite it was as if someone melted french vanilla ice cream down and made it into a chewy cookie.

Again, the outside is no where near as crisp as a macaron should be, but the texturing was velvety smooth and dense. Sure, it wasn't anything like a macaron (texturally), but the thick and chewy texture mixed with the creamy vanilla flavoring was absolutely delicious. If you look at this as just a frozen pastry, not a macaron, it's amazing. Just for reference, I'm the kind of person who loves vanilla pudding pops, and if you're anything like me, this is the cookie for you.

Now for something fruity, here we have the only fruity flavor in the mix, raspberry.

The raspberry macaron is a beautiful muted berry color, and it smells sweet and jammy. While the aroma is more Smuckers than gourmet raspberry jam, it still smells pretty nice and bright.

This flavor seemed to have the crispiest outsides of the four, but the overall texturing was still dense and moist. The cookie and filling have a delicious mixture of almond and raspberry flavoring, and the fruity notes are sweet, slightly tart, and impressively bold. Out of the four, this was the most refreshing, and it really stood out from the rest since it was the only fruity flavor included.

Raspberry was also included in the Trader Joe's version, which was really authentic and fruity with real seeds in the jam-like filling, and when you compare this Walmart version to it's Trader Joe's counter part, Trader Joe's comes out on top. Still, I was more impressed with this flavor than I thought I would be, and it was still very enjoyable for what it was.

Last but not least is one of my favorite flavors of all time, pistachio.

Pistachio is a very popular flavor for sweets in Europe, but it doesn't seem very popular here in America. (I have no idea why, pistachio and almond go so nicely together.) This little green pastry is a pastel green color and it smells sweet but nutty. Just like the vanilla variety, the scent of this one reminds me of creamy ice cream.

This was another macaron flavor that was also in my Trader Joe's review, and I have to say this Walmart version is a lot more flavorful. This little cookie may have had some really strong almond flavoring, which makes sense since the cookie itself is made with ground almonds, but there was a decent amount of pistachio flavoring in there too. Not to sound like a broken record, but I do want to mention that texturing is still off. This was dense and soft, so I wouldn't really compare it to a bakery fresh macaron, but as a frozen dessert item this is pretty darn good.

Overall, I am pretty impressed with Walmart's frozen macarons. If memory serves, the pricing for one dozen frozen macarons at Trader Joe's was a bit cheaper, but both options are much cheaper than buying a dozen of these babies bakery fresh. If you're throwing a little get together and you want to put something fancy on your dessert table, these are a pretty nifty item to keep on hand. Out of the two frozen brands I have tried, they both have their ups and downs. If you want more flavor variety, get your fix at Trader Joe's. If you're more about the classic bakery flavors, this is more your speed.

I can't say I'll be buying tons of these in the future, but this might be a little indulgence after a long work week.
© Maria Smith
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