Indulging in a delicate macaron can feel like a heavenly experience, but have you ever wondered why these petite treats come with a hefty price tag? In this article, we list out the top 10 reasons behind macarons’ expensive allure and explain why these premium desserts remain in demand despite their high prices.
What are macarons?
For those who are not familiar, macarons are a type of meringue-based cookie that originated in France. They are made with almond flour, egg whites, sugar, and food coloring. The batter is piped onto a baking sheet and baked until the cookies are firm and have a slightly chewy texture. Macarons are typically filled with buttercream, ganache, or jam, and can be decorated with a variety of toppings, such as chocolate, sprinkles, or nuts. Often served as a dessert or a snack, macarons are known for their delicate texture and their beautiful appearance.
How much do macarons cost?
In the United States, macarons are often sold between $1 and $4 per piece. However, the average price can vary widely depending on several factors, including the flavor of the macaron, the region it is sold, and the specific bakery that makes it. Some macaron shops also sell macarons in bulk, giving customers fair discounts in the process. But overall, compared to other desserts and pastry items, macarons are more expensive, and that’s for good reason.
Top 10 reasons why macarons are so expensive
Macarons are made with a variety of high-quality, expensive ingredients, including almond flour, egg whites, sugar, and food coloring. Ingredients required to make macarons can be very costly, especially when you consider the small size of a macaron.
- Almond flour – Almonds are one of the most expensive nuts, and even more so when ground into flour. Macarons require a significant amount of almond flour to achieve the perfect consistency.
- Butter – Premium butter is another essential ingredient in macarons, as it adds richness and depth to the flavor profile. Replacing premium butter with cheap ones is not recommended, as the latter are often made with lower-quality milkfat, which can result in a less flavorful and less tender macaron.
- Sugar – Macarons are made with three different types of sugar: granulated sugar, icing sugar, and caster sugar. The use of these multiple types of sugars contributes to the macarons’ crisp shell and chewy center.
- Food coloring and flavoring – High-quality natural extracts like vanilla extract, coffee extract, and fruit purees are often used in macarons for a distinct flavor profile. These flavorings can be quite costly compared to artificial flavorings as they come from real sources.
The cost of a macaron can also increase if its filling contains luxury ingredients like truffle oil or edible gold leaf, which adds to the fancy nature of macarons as a high-end sweet treat.
It’s also worth noting that bakers have specific brands or sources from where they buy these ingredients and that makes up a significant component cost-wise per macaron.
Macarons are expensive because they are labor-intensive dessert to make. They require careful measuring, mixing, and piping. In fact, even experienced bakers can have trouble making macarons that are perfectly round and have smooth surfaces.
Macarons take time to make. It is a time-consuming process that involves several steps to attain perfection. From start to finish, the process can take several hours. This includes time for the ingredients to come to room temperature, the batter to rest, and the macarons to bake.
Once the meringue is prepared, bakers hand-pipe each individual shell consistently, taking into account factors such as piping pressure and angle to maintain uniformity in shape. The macarons then require a resting period before baking, which can last up to an hour to achieve optimal texture and prevent cracks. Once they are baked and completely cooled, the fillings are carefully added to each piece.
It requires a certain level of skill to create macarons. While anyone can learn how to make them, they are notoriously difficult to create for beginners. Macaron making requires extensive know-how in handling the ingredients, such as properly whipping egg whites for meringues and precisely measuring every tiny ingredient. If you don’t know what you’re doing, you’re likely to end up with a failed batch of macarons. In other words, these delicate treats are not easy to master. Making them requires precision and patience to achieve the perfect texture and appearance.
There are a few pieces of equipment that are needed for making macarons. Some bakeries use custom versions of those kitchen tools to create their macarons, and the expenses for those are usually passed down to the consumers. Below are some of the baking tools and equipment used in making macarons.
- Kitchen scale: A kitchen scale is essential for measuring ingredients accurately, especially when making macarons.
- Sifter: A sifter is used to aerate the almond flour and powdered sugar, which helps to create a light and airy macaron.
- Stand mixer: A stand mixer with a whisk attachment is the best way to whip the egg whites to stiff peaks.
- Silicone baking mat: A silicone baking mat is a must-have for macaron baking. It helps to prevent the macarons from sticking to the pan and makes it easy to remove them after baking.
- Parchment paper: Parchment paper can be used in place of a silicone baking mat, but it is not as effective at preventing the macarons from sticking.
- Piping bag: A piping bag is used to pipe the macaron batter onto the baking sheet.
- Piping tip: A piping tip is used to create the desired shape of the macarons.
- Oven thermometer: An oven thermometer is used to ensure that the oven is at the correct temperature.
- Egg white separator: An egg white separator is used to separate the egg whites from the yolks.
- Silicone spatula: A silicone spatula is used to fold the egg whites into the almond flour mixture.
- Baking sheets: Baking sheets are used to bake macarons.
Macarons are delicate and can be easily damaged. This means that there is a lot of waste when making macarons. So to compensate for these losses, some bakeries need to increase the prices of their finished products.
Macarons have become trendy in recent years, which has led to an increase in demand. This increased demand has driven up the cost of macarons.
Many macaron shops are small and only sell their products in a limited number of locations. This exclusivity also contributes to the high price of macarons.
9. Visual appeal
Macarons are beautiful desserts. They are often brightly colored and have a smooth, delicate appearance. This visual appeal can make them seem more expensive than they actually are.
10. Brand name
Some macaron shops are well-known and have already made a name for themselves, giving them the license to sell their great macarons at a higher price than their competitors.
Where to buy macarons
If you are wondering where to find the best macarons, look no further! There are several reputable establishments in the U.S. that cater to those seeking the perfect macaron experience. Some of those macaron shops are as follows:
Ladurée is a French luxury bakery and cafe chain founded in 1862 by Louis Ernest Ladurée. The company is best known for its macarons, which are small, delicate pastries made with almond flour, sugar, and egg whites. Ladurée’s macarons are available in a wide variety of flavors, including pistachio, rose, and chocolate.
The company’s flagship store is located on Rue Royale in Paris. But Ladurée has since expanded to over 70 locations worldwide, including stores in New York City, London, Tokyo, and Dubai.
Ladurée’s French macarons are considered to be some of the best in the world. They are often served as part of a tea or coffee service, or as a gift. The company’s macarons have been featured in films and television shows, such as The Devil Wears Prada and Sex and the City.
In addition to macarons, Ladurée also sells a variety of other pastries, cakes, and other desserts. The company also has a line of home goods, such as tea sets, coffee cups, and macaron-shaped cookie cutters.
Ladurée is a popular tourist destination, and its stores are often crowded with people eager to try its famous macarons. The company has a loyal following of customers, and its macarons are considered to be a symbol of luxury and sophistication.
Bouchon Bakery is a bakery and café chain founded by Chef Thomas Keller. The first location opened in Yountville, California in 2003. Bouchon Bakery is known for its traditional French pastries, including macarons, which come in various flavors like vanilla, pistachio, salted caramel, chocolate cherry, raspberry lychee, and peanut butter & jelly.
La Fournette is a French bakery in Chicago, Illinois. It was founded in 2012 by Pierre Zimmermann, a World Baking Champion. La Fournette is known for its macarons, which are made with high-quality ingredients and no artificial flavors or preservatives. The macarons are available in a variety of flavors, including vanilla, chocolate, pistachio, raspberry, and lemon.
Sucré is a destination dessert and coffee boutique in New Orleans. Operating under new ownership since 2020, it retained all the original flavors of its products, with its macarons and gelato made in-house from scratch and its chocolate sourced straight from Switzerland. At the helm of Sucré is a community-minded native New Orleanian: Executive Pastry Chef Ashley McMillan. Sucré’s macarons are made with fresh, high-quality ingredients and are known for their delicate flavors and vibrant colors.
Baked By Melissa
Baked by Melissa is a New York City-based bakery that specializes in bite-sized, $1 macarons. The company was founded in 2008 by Melissa Ben-Ishay, who was inspired to create a more affordable and accessible version of the French pastry.
What is the most expensive macaron in the world?
The most expensive macaron in the world is the Crystal Macaron, created by the St. Regis Bal Harbour Resort in Miami, Florida. One of the most popular gourmet macarons ever created, Crystal Macaron is made with white tea, and an edible gold leaf, and is served in a Lalique crystal box. The macaron costs $9,703.
How to make homemade macarons
If you want to save money, you can always make a macaron at home. As mentioned above, macarons are tricky to make, but with a little practice, you can master the art of macaron making. Here is a basic recipe for macarons:
- 1 cup (200g) almond flour
- 1 cup (200g) powdered sugar
- 1/2 cup (113g) granulated sugar
- 4 large egg whites
- 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 300 degrees F (150 degrees C). Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
- In a food processor, combine almond flour, powdered sugar, and granulated sugar. Process until well combined and very fine.
- In a separate bowl, beat egg whites and cream of tartar on medium speed until soft peaks form. Gradually add granulated sugar, beating on high speed until stiff peaks form. Beat in vanilla extract.
- Fold almond flour mixture into egg whites until just combined. Do not overmix.
- Pipe macaron batter onto prepared baking sheets in 1-inch rounds. Tap baking sheets on counter to release any air bubbles.
- Let macarons sit at room temperature for 30 minutes, or until the tops are dry to the touch.
- Bake macarons for 15-17 minutes, or until the tops are set and the feet have formed.
- Let macarons cool completely on baking sheets before filling.
To fill macarons, you can use a variety of fillings, such as buttercream frosting, ganache, or jam. Simply pipe the filling between two macaron shells and enjoy!
Here are some tips for making macarons:
- Use room temperature ingredients. This will help the macarons form properly.
- Sift the almond flour and powdered sugar together several times to remove any lumps. This will help the macarons have a smooth surface.
- Do not overmix the batter. Overmixing will make the macarons tough.
- Let the macarons sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before baking. This will help them form a skin, which will prevent them from cracking.
- Bake the macarons at a low temperature. This will help them cook evenly and prevent them from browning.
- Let the macarons cool completely before filling. This will help the filling set properly.
With a little practice, you’ll be able to make delicious macarons that will impress your friends and family.
Who invented macarons?
The exact origin of macarons is unknown, but they are thought to have originated in Italy in the 8th century. They were brought to France by Catherine de’ Medici, who married Henry II of France in 1533. The macarons that we know today, with their distinctive sandwich-like shape and ganache filling, were invented in the 19th century by Pierre Desfontaines, a pastry chef at Ladurée.
There is also a legend that the macaron was invented by two nuns, Sisters Marguerite and Marie-Elisabeth, in the town of Nancy in the Lorraine region of France. The nuns were said to have created the macaron to fit their dietary requirements, as they were not allowed to eat meat. The macaron became popular in Nancy and is still a popular delicacy in the region today.
No matter who invented them, macarons are now a popular sweet treat all over the world.