The Macarons of Dallas, Ranked

That, front and center, is the Fruity Pebbles flavor from Chelles Macarons. The backup dancers are pistachio and lemon.
That, front and center, is the Fruity Pebbles flavor from Chelles Macarons. The backup dancers are pistachio and lemon. Brian Reinhart
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.

click to enlarge Chelles Macarons at the Dallas Farmers Market. - COURTESY OF CHELLES
Chelles Macarons at the Dallas Farmers Market.
Courtesy of Chelles
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.

click to enlarge The sign on the door at Mozart Bakery. - BRIAN REINHART
The sign on the door at Mozart Bakery.
Brian Reinhart
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.

click to enlarge Rush Patisserie in Oak Cliff does macarons well. - COURTESY OF RUSH PATISSERIE
Rush Patisserie in Oak Cliff does macarons well.
Courtesy of Rush Patisserie
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.

KEEP THE DALLAS OBSERVER FREE... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Brian Reinhart has been the Dallas Observer's food critic since spring 2016. In addition, he writes baseball analysis for the Hardball Times and covers classical music for the Observer and MusicWeb International.
Contact: Brian Reinhart