Hi, my name is Ane, and I’m a macaron addict. I’ve been on a bit of a macaron binge for the last several years, and constantly seek out the best macarons in Austin.
When it comes to these little delicacies, often times people refer to them as “macaroons”. Many people confuse the two or don’t realize that there’s a difference.
The similarity between macarons and macaroons, aside from almost having the same exact name, is that they both have a base of egg whites and sugar that gets whipped into a meringue.
For macaroons, you then add coconut shreds to the mixture, toss onto a cookie sheet and bake until crunchy on the outside, and chewy in the middle. You can then dip them in chocolate or some other sort of ganache and enjoy.
For macarons, the granulated sugar, confectioner’s sugar and egg white base is mixed traditionally with almond meal, and then arguably the most complicated baking process begins. Mix the mixture too much and you have a soupy mess, if you don’t fold the almond meal/egg white/sugar mixture enough you have a whole other dessert. Even macaron baking experts will agree that they’re fickle little things and out of every 10 batches made, one or two may not come out as expected.
The mixture is piped evenly onto a baking tray and put in the oven to bake, but not before “drying” or sitting out on the counter from anywhere between 15 minutes to an hour (some even leave the eggs out for a day or two before baking!). Once the cookies are baked to perfection, they are then turned into a sandwich by adding buttercream or jam or ganache to the bottom of one cookie and then slapped together with another.
The appeal of these meringue cookies is their composition: a shiny and smooth crisp shell, and a perfectly chewy and tasty center. They come in as many flavors as you can imagine, from lavender, rose, and pistachio, to sometimes more crazy flavors like smoked salmon, or foie gras as I got to enjoy while in the French Riviera.
Now for the fun stuff! In no particular order, these are the places I frequent on a regular basis to get my macaron fix. These are places I know I can pop into to get a quick bite. Let me know what are you go-to places, as I’m always on the hunt for a delicious macaron no matter where in Austin I may be!
Le Politique Patisserie
I love the new coffee shop and bakery addition to Le Politique, and they always seem to have a fantastic selection of macarons, along with delicious fresh-baked goods and fantastic coffee.
I not only love this coffee shop to enjoy some coffee and get work done, I also like this coffee shop because they have delicious (and pretty sizeable!) macarons. Their flavors vary, but if you see anything with pink grapefruit/champagne in it, I suggest you try it out.
Pastry Chef Jennifer Tucker mixes it up on a daily basis by creating macarons inspired by tropical flavors. This last time I popped in they had passion fruit macarons, pistachio macarons, and chocolate? (I normally try the more exotic flavors). What’s great about getting them here is you can just drop in to pick some up, then take them home (if they make it home–I normally eat like, two in the car). Or, you can sit down at the counter or at a table, and enjoy them with an iced Vietnamese coffee infused with sweetened condensed milk or, if you’re feeling more sassy, one of their fabulous sake or sparkling wine punches.
This French bakery is known as a macaron and pastry boutique, so you know their macarons are great! I love that they offer pre-packaged macarons by the twos, sixes, or by the dozen, so it’s easy to go in and out, yet you can also customize your pack. They also have seasonal macarons or macaron flavors in honor of certain holidays, so it’s fun to try those too. You can stop by for lunch and enjoy some more savory dishes like quiches or sandwiches (make sure to get there early before they run out), then enjoy a few macarons with some delicious coffee. They have two locations, one in Bouldin and another one up north.
Sugar Mama’s Bakeshop
Sugar Mama’s Bakeshop offers a plethora of baked sweets, and macarons are just some of them. Their macaron flavors also change monthly, and they also have weekly specials.
Sandra Bullock’s deli and gift/flower shop always has some of the best macarons in town, with flavors that vary from mixed berry, pistachio, chocolate, vanilla, espresso, salted caramel, cayenne peanut butter and passion fruit. Stop by during lunch and enjoy a made to order warm pressed sandwich with a cup of soup, or stop in for breakfast and enjoy made-from scratch biscuits and gravy, shrimp & grits with a side of andouille sausage, made to order breakfast tacos, and some of Austin’s finest coffees.
Baked by Amy’s
I know this is an ice cream shop, but they have a bakery component that offers macarons whose flavors change on a monthly basis.
When I’m on my way to visit my friend Simon at Taco Flats, I make it a point to stop into Kellie’s Baking Co on Burnet Rd to see if she has any macarons on hand. Although not always available, it’s worth popping into the store or calling ahead to check. If there aren’t any on hand, you can always order them for pick up, or for special events like baby showers, wedding showers, weddings, or birthdays. Kellie’s also has wonderful cookies and is now selling egg-free cookie dough so you no longer have to risk getting food poisoning just to savor the delicious treat.
Not quite yet open in Austin, yet this San Antonio bakery knows how to do macarons extremely well, and it’s a favorite stop of mine when I’m at the Pearl Brewery in San Antonio. They’re opening a bakery in Austin in 2018 at the Rock Rose district up in Domain Northside. The bakery is estimated to open in the fall of 2018.
There are other local bakers like Hello! Macaron that can make made to order macarons and delivered or picked up. I also enjoy one or two at Whole Foods downtown while grocery shopping, to make my experience there that much more enjoyable, and they now offer a huge selection of them in a little fridge when you’re checking out by the “10 Items or Less” line.
Do you have a favorite place for macarons in Austin? If so, let me know what it is on my latest Instagram post to make sure we can share the love and deliciousness that are these little treats.