Cupcakes have been popular for quite a while now (and I still love them), but from what I've heard french macarons are the new cupcake. They've been around for a while, but I just discovered them about a year ago, but not many local places sold them. I've recently seen them popping up in more bakeries around here, and at farmer's markets. They are made from a meringue shell with a buttercream filling, and they just melt in your mouth. They come in many colors and flavors. Salted caramel and key lime are some of my favorites.
I've heard they are hard to make and kind of finicky, so I bought the book i love macarons and decided to try them out. I just wanted to see if they turned out, so I didn't try anything fancy, just vanilla on vanilla. My sister Whitney came over and helped, and we had a good time. There are a lot of steps, including grinding almonds into flour (much cheaper than buying it), but they turned out great.
I heard the most famous macaron shop, Laduree, just opened its first location in the U.S in New York a few weeks ago. Their stores are eye candy. Check them out online.
I was informed by Brendan and Whitney that they've heard pie is the new cupcake. After googling it, it seems to be cupcakes are dead and pie is hot for 2011, but just in March the Today show was calling the macaron the new cupcake so who knows. I like cupcakes, macarons, and pie.