There’s a sweet temptation all the way from France that’s making its way into cafes, bakeries, and restaurants all over New York City: French macarons. This delicate and sophisticated French version of a cookie is a far cry from homely chocolate chip or oatmeal raisin. Every macaron is a layer of smooth, rich ganache filling sandwiched between two crunchy, yet soft, French style cookies baked to perfection. They are popping up all over the city in a colorful array, from bright hues and fabulous décor to soft, classic varieties with traditional touches. The flavors are just as diverse, with classic French ingredients like vanilla, chocolate, pistachio, and champagne, but also wildly adventurous spins on the dessert like candied bacon and pink lemonade. Americans are doing macarons their own way, including flavors that change with the seasons or reflect trends in the culinary world. For example, pumpkin spice is up and coming with the increased popularity of the drink, and gluten-free macarons are also becoming common all over the city. The French may have invented this beautiful, timeless dessert, but these 10 New York City eateries are reinventing the macaron and wooing dessert lovers from all over the world.
At Dana’s Bakery, French pastry technique meets all-American traditions in their unique hybrid dessert creations. Naturally, their beautiful macarons are the star of their menu, and in addition to being colorful and delicious, they are all gluten free and made with 100 percent almond flour. They offer special holiday flavors throughout the year, such as candy corn or pumpkin spice macarons in October or eggnog macarons in December. Some of their more whimsical flavors like pink lemonade and banana split sure to be children’s favorites, and their adult menu items include peach bellini and margarita macarons. Dana’s Bakery uses American favorites when choosing their ingredients, and the result appeals to macaron lovers of all ages.
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Meow Parlour is a truly unique experience that animal lovers in New York City will not want to miss. Not only are they one of the only cat-friendly cafes in the area, but they also serve up beautifully crafted macarons with unique flavors. The restaurant in divided into two sections: in one area, guests can play with cats that are available for adoption, and in the other, yummy baked goods and drinks are served up. As expected, their macarons come in traditional and cat-shaped, and they also offer an assortment of cookie, brownies, and blondies that are all cat-shaped. It’s a macaron and cat lover’s heaven! Their comfortable and friendly environment will make you want to stay all day.
Owned by the famous, award-winning chef Thomas Keller, Bouchon Bakery is one of his two locations that serve flawless French macarons baked to the highest standards of pastry. They offer the most classic flavors, like vanilla, pistachio, and chocolate, but are still far from ordinary because of the impeccable texture of the cookies and ganache filling, and their beautiful soft colors. Their macarons come in small and large sizes, and are surprisingly affordable despite their high reputation. Keller’s menu also boasts classic French croissants, small sandwiches, and cakes, all paired perfectly with hot teas and coffees. Bouchon Baker is ideal for macaron purists who enjoy a simple, classic French pastry done right.
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Macarons don’t have to stick to French tradition all the time, as proven at Bisous Ciao sweet shop. Owner Tanya Ngangan uses her global travel experience and knowledge of exotic ingredients to conjure up truly unique macaron flavors that change with the seasons. Sour cherry, masala chai, and gianduja are just a few of her contemporary creations that defy the rules about classic macaron flavor profiles and also bring a bit of her world travels to her city customers. The restaurant boasts a refined, French interior design, and is a pleasant place to stop in for a yummy dessert, whether it’s a macaron or one of her many miniature cakes and other sweets.
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At Macaron Parlor, some might say there are weird things happening with dessert. Their flavors are far from conventional and bring together bizarre, savory ingredients to create some of the most unique macarons in the city. Their show stopping bestseller is the candied maple bacon macaron, which is a perfectly satisfying balance of sweet and salty. Over the years, they have served up other rare flavors like Cheetos, honey cognac, and rosemary and olive oil. For less adventurous macaron lovers, Macaron Parlor still bakes classic French flavors like pistachio, vanilla, chocolate, and earl grey. All of their macarons are colorful, crunchy on the outside, and smooth on the inside – just as a macaron should be.
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French pastry expert Francois Payard opened up Francois Payard Bakery to bring traditional French macarons, croissants, rolls, and other baked good to New York City. Delicate flavors like cassis violet, passionfruit, and raspberry lychee are on the menu, in addition to a new macaron flavor of the month. The entire dessert menu is elegant and refined, not unlike the savory dishes also on offer for brunch, lunch, and dinner. On National Macaron Day once a year, the bakery offers $5 “macaron doughnuts”, which are two oversized macarons with holes in the middle and generous dollops of ganache filling in between like a sandwich. They’re a fun and creative treat offered only at Francois Payard Bakery!
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A trip to Laduree in Madison is like a trip to Paris without the hassle. Owned by Louis-Earnest Ladurée, whose grandson invented the “double-decker macaron” this bakery is a genuine French experience in the middle of the bustling city. In addition to the double-decker, which is two classic macarons sandwiched together with extra ganache filling, Laduree offers classic and extraordinary macaron flavors from orange blossom and rose petal to salted caramel and chocolate. Their chocolate macarons are especially famous, because they use high quality chocolate in the cookies and ganache, and they pair perfectly with hot tea or coffee also sold at the bakery. The confections at Laduree are a bit pricey, but every bit worth it because of their finesse and authenticity.
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Macaron Café is a charming bakery and café with one specialty on the menu, so you know it’s going to be good: French macarons. Highly rated as one of the nest macaron establishments in the city, Macaron Café is a beautiful, fairytale-like place with equally magical flavors on offer. From violette flower and honey lavender to pumpkin cinnamon and Nutella, their varieties range from delicate essences to rich, warm flavors, and are sure to please dessert lovers of all kinds. The macarons are lightly colored and decorated with tiny toppings, like gold leaf, crushed pistachio, sprinkles, and chocolate. They are almost too beautiful to eat, but the aromas will be too tempting to resist.
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In pursuit of elegance, comfort and rich flavor, La Maison du Macaron produces only the highest quality Parisian macarons and other baked goods in myriad of unique flavors. Apple calvados, fig, and coconut are among their exotic fruit flavors, balanced by comforting favorites like champagne and vanilla. Their luxury boxes are elegantly wrapped to take home, and they even create fancy specialty cakes covered in macarons. It’s easy to be intimidated by their huge selection of macaron flavors, but that just means more opportunity to try new, delicious flavor combinations not found anywhere else in New York City. Their pastry chef Pascal Goupil has created over 150 varieties over the years, and about 20 of them are on offer each day.
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Mille-Feuille Bakery Café is all about perfecting the art of the French macaron, which most people regard as one of the most challenging pastries to master. In addition to selling their artfully prepared macarons, they offer hands-on classes instructing how to make macarons and take-home kits for baking macarons. Their flavors are classic, ranging from passionfruit, rose, and pistachio to chocolate, salted caramel, and espresso. Their macarons pair well with their in-house coffee and teas, and the café is a comfy spot to enjoy dessert. The owner’s love for macarons and baking was so great that he left his software career in France to open up Mille-Feuille, and has been sharing his passion with New Yorkers ever since.
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