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posted: 3/18/2014 5:45 AM

From the Food Editor: Everyone's a winner in the macaron vs. macaroon debate

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  • "The Macaroon Bible" by Dan Cohen

    "The Macaroon Bible" by Dan Cohen

  • "Modern Pioneering" by Georgia Pellegrini

    "Modern Pioneering" by Georgia Pellegrini

  • Georgia Pellegrini will lead the Girl Hunter Adventure Getaway April 3 to 6 at Destination Kohler in Kohler, Wis.

    Georgia Pellegrini will lead the Girl Hunter Adventure Getaway April 3 to 6 at Destination Kohler in Kohler, Wis.
    Courtesy of Terry Allen


I had to chuckle the other day when I discovered a box of pretty pastel macarons in the newsroom. As I eagerly bit into the delicate treat, a co-worker commented, "These are really different. There's no coconut."

It's a common thought. Between bites, I explained. "This a French maca-ROHN," rolling the "r" and making a short, breathy "o" like my high school French teacher taught me. Oh the difference a long "o" and some coconut can make.

In the Midwest, we're much more familiar with the chewy, toasty coconut cookie (a Passover staple) than we are with the French-born meringue confections that have been on a cupcake-like trajectory to dessert stardom in recent months.

I'm crediting the gluten-free craze for the meteoric rise in popularity of both treats. In lieu of wheat-based flour, French macarons use almond flour (just ground-up almonds) while macaroons contain no flour at all; both rely on stiffly whipped egg whites for lift.

And both have their fan base. The macaroon camp might as well be lead by Dan Cohen, founder of New York's Danny Macaroons and author of "The Macaroon Bible" (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013).

Coconut macaroons "aren't so much coconut cookies and they are cookies that utilize coconut as the vehicle to deliver happiness to mouths," he says. (His cookies are served at a few coffee shops and restaurants in the suburbs and Chicago.)

Don't ask me to choose one over the other ... my mouth's full with a macar ...

Channeling Annie Oakley: It's time to wipe scrapbooking, shopping and pedicures off the schedule for your next girls' weekend and pencil in hunting, fly fishing, craft beer and s'mores.

Are you still with me?

In what's being billed as a women-only Adventure Getaway Weekend April 3 to 6 at Destination Kohler in Kohler, Wis., chef, author and "girl hunter" Georgia Pellegrini invites women to "step outside their comfort zone."

"Women need balance; we want to experience life more viscerally," says Pellegrini, author of "Modern Pioneering" (Potter 2014). The book serves as a guide for backyard gardening and homesteading for women who want to grow food efficiently, cook seasonally or even try foraging and living off the land. Recipes run the gamut from carrot butter and pea pancakes to beet marshmallows and dandelion wine.

The adventure weekend is open to women of all skill levels, no outdoor experience necessary. Activities include hiking, clay shooting, pheasant hunting (and learning how to clean said birds), fly fishing, yoga and a field-to-table cooking class, a scotch tasting, s'mores by a campfire and more.

"We'll roll up our sleeves and do things our grandparents' generation did," the Hudson Valley, N.Y., native and classically trained chef said. "Self-sufficiency is the ultimate girl power."

The weekend -- which includes three nights at The American Club, all meals and gear -- costs $1,807 based on double occupancy.

"We get women from all walks of life, from 23 to 65 years old," she said. "Some come with friends, some show up alone. When you have these experiences it's a different type of bonding."

If the weekend is too much of a commitment, sign up for Pellegrini's Sunday cooking demonstration and lunch for $75; add $25 for a signed copy of "Modern Pioneering."

Register for either option at or (800) 344-2838. (And yes, there will be down time so you can take advantage of the famous Kohler spa.)

Contact Food Editor Deborah Pankey at or (847) 427-4524. Friend her at or on Pinterest, Instagram and Twitter @PankeysPlate.

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