In her 30-year career of preparing pastries at fine hotels, Michele Mitchell has never seen anything like our devotion to macaroons at the Hotel du Pont. Once made only for special occasions like Mother’s Day, they are now part of everyday life. Thanks to business travelers and others, the macaroons are known far and wide. They’re served after every meal, and, for the past 13 years, have been available for purchase at the front desk. That makes Mitchell, executive pastry chef at the hotel, the guardian of something very special. “They’re just very unique,” she says. The origin of the recipe is unknown, but it has never changed in her 15 years at the hotel—nor would she change it. Start with good almond paste, add egg whites until the batter reaches its heavenly consistency, then load it into the hopper of a special machine that produces more than 3,300 macaroons per batch. Had they been done by hand, as they were up until the process was automated 28 years ago, “that’s a lot of carpal tunnel issues,” Mitchell laughs. But you don’t need to think about that while treating Mom to brunch.
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