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Cheetos macarons?! High-end spin on food's hottest mash-up trend

Cheetos macarons.

Need we say more?

There's no end to the ways we like to enjoy Cheetos, including Cheetos infused with Pepsi or turned into a bacon pancake batter, just two of the latest entries in the food mash-ups craze. But these Cheetos applications are decidedly downmarket when compared with one of the newest ways to enjoy the snack food: in a -- hold on to your pearls -- macaron.

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Macaron Parlour on St. Mark's Place in New York City is rolling out Cheetos macarons just in time for Halloween. It features a Cheetos-infused white chocolate ganache and is finished off with a dusting of the orange foodstuff, 'cause if you're going to eat Cheetos you gotta end up with orange fingers, right?

Macaron Parlour co-owner Simon Tung says customers are sharply divided by the Cheetos macarons, which started last year as a Halloween joke dreamed up by his wife and pastry chef, Christina Ha. 

For the uninitiated, a macaron is an ethereal, exquisite dessert known as much for its delicate, almond-infused taste as for the meticulous attention to detail required to make them. The creme- or caramel-filled delights are like tiny works of art, arriving in a dazzling array of colors that elicit oohs and aahs. They are sold not so much in "stores" as in "shoppes," "boutiques" and "patisseries."

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"People are split down the middle," Tung told The Times. "They come in and then when they see it they either go, 'That's so gross! You totally desecrated the macaron!' or they say, 'That's so cool!'"

Macaron Parlour offers an ever-changing line of flavors, such as s'mores, candied bacon with maple cream cheese and the Elvis, featuring peanut butter and caramelized bananas.

Such flavors give the Cheetos Macaron some competition, Tung said. The Cheetos macaron is a popular conversation starter, but it's not one of our top flavors. People say 'Cheetos marcaons, how cool, let me get a red velvet.'"

The Cheetos macaron started off as a joke. "My wife created the flavor for Halloween last year, he said, explaining that the flavor was expected to die out when the last of the batch was sold.

"But then a blog picked it up. And then a customer ordered it," and the popularity kept growing from there, he said. "So they're coming back for Halloween."

What does a Cheetos macaron taste like? "It's a sweet version of a Cheetos," Tung said. "It's got the whole salty, savory thing. And there's a corn chip taste going on."

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Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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