We've written about macarons, noted their rising popularity over cupcakes and have suggested them as holiday treats or gifts for friends and family. But we have never ranked the ten best macarons in Houston.
Our great city has a multitude of shops selling the French cookies and it's no secret why they are appearing everywhere. Macarons are made from almond flour, egg whites and sugar; once they're baked and cooled, a thin spread of ganache, buttercream, fruit jams or preserves is sandwiched between two cookies of the same size. Macarons take much skill and practice to create. But when they're done right, the result is magnificent.
People travel all the way to Paris just to try the macarons at Ladurée, one of the most popular patisseries in the world. Over the past few years, America has embraced the macaron craze and brought the French treat across the ocean. To help you find the best of the best in the Bayou City, here are the ten best macaron shops in Houston.
10. Petite Sweets It's slightly ironic that the macarons at Petite Sweets are a bit bigger than most of the other treats in the display case. But you don't see us complaining about the larger portions. The macarons come in a variety of vibrant, bright colors just as all of Petite Sweets' desserts do. Don't expect to find standard French macaron flavors like lavender and rose, though. This West Alabama bakery stocks its shelves with American flavors: S'mores, mint chocolate chip, chocolate peanut butter, red velvet cake and cotton candy. Just a warning: You might get an overwhelming rush of sugar with one bite, but that's a good thing.
9. Foody's Gourmet You know the macarons are popular at this store when there are only three flavors left at 5 o'clock on a weekday. Foody's Gourmet is a French bakery specializing in classic Parisian pastries and desserts. While the French baguettes, strawberry tarts and Napoleons are tempting, don't leave without a macaron. The first thing you will notice is the excellent "feet" on each cookie (the ruffled circumference), so you know it's well-crafted. Once you bite into it, you discover the soft, fluffy interior, which melts in your mouth. The hazelnut macaron (one of the best flavors) is topped with a hazelnut powder and filled with a smooth cream similar to a caramel spread. 8. Maison Burdisso It sucks when you can get incredible macarons only twice a week. Maison Burdisso sets up shop at the Urban Harvest Farmers Market at Eastside on Saturdays and the Rice University Farmers Market on Tuesdays. The Parisian macaron vendor always brings a wide range of exotic and classic flavors. Purchase a traditional vanilla bean almond sandwich cookie and a not-so-typical bananas foster macaron at the same time. No matter which flavor you get, the pastry will be sweet and chewy, just as a macaron should be.
7. Ganache Dessert Bar If you ate a macaron at Ganache Dessert Bar without looking at the treat or knowing its flavor, your taste buds could easily tell you what it is. Pastry chef Michael Jones has perfected the transformation of common and distinct flavors like green tea and cafe sua da into a French delicacy. Kaitlin Steinberg ranked Ganache Dessert Bar's macarons as her No. 57 favorite dish in 2013, saying that "Every single one of the dozens of macarons I've tried at Ganache is 1. Beautiful; 2. Delicious; and 3. Structurally Sound." This story continues on the next page.
6. Bite Macarons Bite Macarons opened on Buffalo Speedway less than a year ago, but its bright and beautiful macarons have attracted many customers to the store. The cookies are not bite-size, but are presented in a rainbow of colors contrasting with the fluorescent white display case. Owner and executive pastry chef Sandia Horng has dedicated much time and effort to creating her macarons, and it is evident with each tender, sweet bite of her masterpieces.
5. Dolce Delights It's tempting to purchase every type of macaron at Dolce Delights. Do yourself a favor and choose fruity flavors along with one or two "adventurous" ones. The classic rose and tart lemon poppyseed macarons are simple and sweet, while flavors like bourbon bacon maple and mint chocolate chip skirt the edge on modern interpretations.
4. Common Bond Sure, it's been open for only a few weeks, but Common Bond is successfully showing Houston its baking skills, especially with its macarons. The fluffy shells crumble with one bite, revealing the sticky, soft interior underneath -- and that's before you get to the filling, which is smooth and luscious. Be adventurous and try the PB&J macaron or the citrus orange variety.
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3. Fluff Bake Bar Unfortunately, there isn't yet a Fluff Bake Bar storefront where you can purchase any of Becky Masson's sinfully sweet creations, but fortunately, you can purchase her macarons (as well as those amazing Fluffernutters) at Revival Market. In Fluff Bake Bar style, the flavors are not your standard French offerings; Masson adds her own touch. If you love tart and sweet treats, then choose the green apple macaron. If you can't keep your hands off your grandfather's Werther's caramels, then purchase a few of her Werther's Caramel macarons complete with a smooth filling reminiscent of dulce de leche in alfajores.
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2. Oui Desserts "Oui" think Oui Desserts is making a name for itself as one of the best French patisseries in town. Oui opened in February inside the same Kirby shopping center that houses Fat Bao and Luna Pizzeria. As soon as you step inside, you're overwhelmed with the scent of cooked sugar, baked bread and coffee. Alongside key lime tarts, gluten-free walnut brownies and beautiful brioche rolls, you will find itsy-bitsy macarons a little larger than a dollar coin. The strawberry cookie sandwich not only contains a whipped filling, but also tiny strawberry chunks, creating a refreshing treat. Hazelnut macarons are filled with a flawless spread of Nutella, and although the pistachio cookies are not bright green, they taste exactly like the nut. Pair any of these mini treats with a cup of Illy coffee.
1. Macaron by Patisse Sukaina Rajani is the co-owner of Macaron by Patisse, Houston's original macaron shop and the best place to buy the French almond cookie sandwiches. Her cute store features more than 20 macaron flavors in its display cases. Classic options such as rose, vanilla and pistachio sit beside exotic flavors such as cookies 'n' cream, tiramisu and the ever-popular fig and goat cheese. Your taste buds are instantly hit with the sweet fig cookie, then as you chew the soft filling, you discover the savory cheese -- a daring combination that works.