WATCH: How to Make Chocolate Beer Macaroons

01/31/2014 at 11:53 AM ET

Ali Rosen is the host and founder of Potluck Video, a food and drink website that takes you behind the culinary scene with celebrity chefs, restaurateurs, producers, mixologists and more.

Everyone from Starbucks to your local bakery is selling French macarons (those pillowy sandwich cookies with a jam or cream middle), but what about macaroons with two “o”s?

If you don’t know the difference, macaroons are small, mounded cookies (usually coconut flavored) made with egg whites and sugar, but no flour. Both macarons and macaroons get their name from the same Italian word—ammaccare, which means “to crush”—but they’re totally different desserts. And now, the classic coconut macaroon is getting a modern spin from chef Dan Cohen of Danny Macaroons.

Cohen confirms that a macaroon doesn’t have to be the overly-sweet cookie you might remember as a child. “It isn’t this overwhelming coconut explosion,” he says. “It’s just this really nicely toasted, somewhat mild but nutty, really tasty cookie. A little pillowy on the inside, crunchy on the outside.”

You can also have fun with flavors to make macaroons even more modern. Watch the video above for Cohen’s recipe for chocolate stout macaroons, made with Brooklyn Brewery’s Black Chocolate Stout beer.

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The Latest Craze in Disco Styles Is See-Through Jeans—but Beware of Foggy Bottoms


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The Latest Craze in Disco Styles Is See-Through Jeans—but Beware of Foggy Bottoms

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On a clear day, you can see forever—or at least that’s the wicked thought behind L.A. designer Agi Berliner’s transparent idea: see-through jeans. Exhibitionists notwithstanding, most folks wear them over bathing suits or as attention-getting evening wear with halters, garter belts and body stockings. Created for the disco crowd, the $34 jeans are selling like, well, hot pants. In just six weeks, 25,000 pairs have already been sold in such major department store chains as Macy’s, Bonwit’s and Saks.

“What’s limiting American designers is that we’re afraid to do something different,” says Berliner, 32, a Hungarian émigré who fled with her family to the U.S. in 1956. Agi thought up the gimmick in London while marveling at the way plastics were being employed by designers of punk fashion. In her L.A. office, where she designs for La Parisienne junior sportswear, Agi spent five days on the phone and six weeks testing to come up with the right plastic.

Agi herself tried out the French-cut jeans with the zipper in front, and quickly found several problems: Some plastics tore away from stitching, others wouldn’t bend and all fogged with perspiration. The ideal material proved to be a vinyl supplied by a bookbinder. The steam was eliminated with a series of vents behind the knees and in the crotch. “They’re no hotter than polyester pants,” claims Agi, “and if you wear them with tights, they won’t stick to your legs.”

Whatever the discomfort and despite the problem of Saturday night feverishness, discomaniacs report one major advantage of the plastic pants: no laundry bills. To keep Berliner’s see-through jeans clear, all the wearer needs is a little Windex.

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