Is any dessert trendier than macarons have been the last few years? And is any dessert harder to make? This feather-light French pastry, a temperamental treat made with almond meringue and a thin layer of filling, has taken North Texas by storm in recent years, and now it seems that every dessert place in DFW has their own interpretation on the treat.
But macarons are notoriously difficult to bake, and even professional chefs struggle to perfect this thin-skinned cookie. Factors like humidity can interfere with the process, and they’re also notoriously expensive; each single cookie on this list costs between $1.75 and $2.50.
So how many of Dallas’ crop are any good? We selected nine notable local bakeries that specialize in macarons and ran them through a rigorous taste test. In total, we tried 32 macarons.
It was exhausting research, albeit pretty delicious, most of the time. Below is our ranking of the macaron purveyors of Dallas, ranked from worst to first.
9. 9 Rabbits Bakery & Boba House
2546 Royal Lane
When it opened in summer 2016, 9 Rabbits Bakery had a formidable lineup of macarons, including a honey flavor decorated to look like Winnie the Pooh. At opening, we greedily tried six of the available flavors, and two (mint chocolate and blueberry cheesecake) were terrific, while the others were doughy and thick.
Unfortunately, a follow-up visit in 2017 had sadder results. 9 Rabbits was down to only two flavors, chocolate and green tea latte, and both were awful. The macarons were lumpy and stale. Biting into these hard hunks of sugar was so unrewarding that my table couldn’t finish either flavor.
8. Savor Patisserie
9440 Garland Road
Savor makes almost nothing but macarons, and they charge $2.50 each for the carefully decorated treats. Savor is fairly consistent on their baking skills, but their weakness is a heavy hand with the sugar. A vanilla macaron tasted a lot like cake batter; the lemon and sea salt caramel flavors each have an aggressive blast of cloying sweetness.
7. Joy Macarons
839 W. Davis St. and 1927 Greenville Ave.
This local mini-empire has bakeries in Oak Cliff and on Greenville Avenue; the Oak Cliff location, where we sampled, has a gleaming glass-walled kitchen right behind the sales counter. The three macarons we tried were different levels of chewy, from not-great to annoyingly gummy. Vanilla bean had good delicate flavor, but the lavender is for diehard lavender fans only: It’s an in-your-face assault of flowers. Oddly, the cookies were all different sizes.
6. Bisous Bisous Patisserie.
3700 McKinney Ave.
Nestled in the buzzing heart of Uptown, Bisous Bisous goes all-out on the Parisian theme; even the “Open/Closed” sign is in French. At $2.25 each, macarons here cost a little above average, and my lemon macaron was above average too: a nice delicate texture and flavor. Vanilla didn’t enjoy that same fate, though; its texture was more like a Chips Ahoy Chewy. Did we mention that, even for macaron-only specialty shops, baking these things is really, really hard?
So we ordered a tiebreaker flavor: tiramisu. But this was the worst of the lot, smelling like burnt Starbucks and not nearly as fluffy or delightful as the real thing.
5. Tart Bakery
5219 W. Lovers Lane
A delicate outer shell; soft, light batter; subtle but ingratiating flavors. Tart Bakery’s macarons, which they make mostly to cater events and weddings but also sell at a shop on Lovers Lane, can be very good indeed. Sadly, the lovely pistachio macaron we tried was counterbalanced by a rather doughy vanilla cookie whose halves slid apart upon first bite. Still, the good outweighs the bad here, and, for $1.75 instead of $2, Tart’s macarons are a little bit cheaper than everyone else’s.
4. Rush Patisserie
1201 Eldorado Ave.
This little Oak Cliff shop is serious about its craft; owner Samantha Rush studied at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris and is a stickler for quality. The small size of the operation means that macaron options are frequently pretty limited: They had three flavors on our visit, and were down to the last cookie of one flavor, vanilla. It was divine, as was a raspberry flavor, and though the lavender macaron had a little too much cream filling for our taste, the flavor was exquisite. If you live in Oak Cliff or downtown Dallas, Rush is by far the best option around.
3. Mozart Bakery
11420 Emerald St.
Mozart Bakery, a Korean-run shop at Interstate 35 and Royal Lane, makes great macarons. The dough is light and fluffy, the exterior shells snap between your teeth and each cookie is a reasonable $1.75. Also, the ingredients list seems to only be partially in English: It ends with “Eggs, Water, Man, Ju.” The only thing keeping Mozart from getting a better rank on this list? A bit of excessive cream filling in the lemon macaron and the oddness of “man” as an ingredient. This is the bargain pick for best macarons in Dallas.
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2. Haute Sweets Patisserie
10230 Northwest Highway
These guys get it. They get customer service: After learning that we were a first-time customer, the clerk gave us not one but two free sample cookies — a welcome freebie, since they’re $2.35 each. They get flavoring, too: From traditional flavors like lemon and pistachio to oddities like PB&J, Haute Sweets is right on the mark and never treacly-sweet. The PB&J macaron was a little crunchy, but we’re overlooking that because the other four macarons we tried were perfect, and because the clerk, asked to recommend her favorites, really did suggest the best ones, including raspberry cotton candy.
1. Chelles Macarons
920 S. Harwood St. and 2963 W. 15th St., Plano
Like Rush, Mozart and Haute Sweets, Chelles Macarons has mastered the art of baking this oh-so-finicky cookie. The three we tried, $2 each, were admirably consistent, with flawless texture — the crisp thin exterior, the feather-light insides — and subtle, spot-on flavors. As a sort of tiebreaker, we added Chelles’ most daring flavor: Fruity Pebbles. Yes, it contains real Fruity Pebbles chunks. But somehow, they don’t overdo it, and it’s not an overwhelming sugar bomb. Sneak one to a French person and see if they can find reason to be snobby. Hopefully not, because Chelles is — at least in this small sample survey — the best macaron bakery in Dallas.