Though it’s known primarily as a French treat, the macaron has made waves internationally, taking the world of dessert-lovers everywhere by storm—and Singapore is no exception. Its origins weren’t quite based in Paris, either, as its name is derived from the Italian word maccherone (“fine dough”), and it’s believed that the confection was brought over from Italy by the French king’s bride-to-be.
The dessert was initially just a humble cookie of almond flour, egg whites, and sugar, with no filling of which to speak. It wasn’t until the nineteenth century that patrons of the sweet got their hands on a macaron that resembled what we enjoy today, when Pierre Desfontaines of La Maison Ladurée (yes, the very same) began adding ganache, buttercream, and compote between the cookies.
The anatomy of a perfect macaron is a delight to behold and to indulge in—a crispy, eggshell-like top and bottom sandwiching an appropriate amount of filling (“ni plus ni moins,” as the French would say), resulting in a fluffy, slightly chewy bite. The difficult-to-achieve small and unbroken feet (the ruffled flare around the bottom of the cookie) are a dead giveaway as to a macaron’s quality.
There’s nothing quite as satisfying as pulling a batch of perfectly identical macaron meringue halves with these coveted feet out of the oven. Baking isn’t always quite as simple as social media would make it seem, however, and trickier treats are sometimes best left to the professionals.
Especially as a number of landmark macaron institutions have closed down in the last few years (Ladurée Singapore is no more, and the boudoir-pâtisserie Antoinette shuttered its doors in July), it’s more important than ever to take note of both the survival of their contemporaries and the birth of their descendants. Here, we detail just a few of the most exciting and innovative shops in town that specialise in the macaron, those that look both to its traditional past and its innovative future.
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Here’s one for your little black book: Jaded Macarons, the new kid on the block, which opened its virtual doors in August. The bakery has pledged to go beyond what a typical connoisseur of macarons would expect to find in the treat. Its motto, “challenging what a macaron means to you,” represents a desire to push the local industry to ever-greater gastronomic potential. Interested in pursuing innovative and fresh horizons while staying true to the Singaporean spirit, the store has so far introduced new macarons to the tune of Ang Ku Kueh, Kaya Butter Toast, Kopi Gao, Liu Sha Bao, and White Rabbit Candy. Fillings are made completely in-house, whether they be the roasted nut butter accompanying the Ang Ku Kueh macaron or the molten “salted egg” buttercream inside the Liu Sha Bao flavor. The company has also completely pulled back the curtain on the macaron-making process, often walking its Instagram audience through the devoted step-by-step process that goes into every batch.
$15 for a box of 5; available at Jaded Macarons
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The Dark Gallery
Specialising in a rhapsody of internationally-sourced cacao desserts, The Dark Gallery crafts artisanal macarons alongside its lines of premium ice cream, cakes, and chocolates. The company has 10 macaron flavours, each designed to titillate the senses: ruby raspberry, Lapsang Souchong caramel, hazelnut praline, and rose tea, amongst others. The bakery presents a sweet treasure trove for your perusal, inviting you to open your senses to the possibilities inherent in every bite of dessert.
Starts at $24 for a box of 8; available at The Dark Gallery
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A boutique bakery with a small studio that is only open by online appointment, Honeypeach’s beautiful petite cakes are often not quite finished until a few colour-matched macarons have been fastidiously added as edible decoration. Head baker Jiaxuan started the company at 19-years-old, taking the leap of faith and slowly building her team and loyal fanbase over the years. Said hungry customers can order signature bundle boxes of the confection in five different flavours, boxed in with a number of carefully-packaged brookies and cheesecake “shots.” They’re immensely popular; Honeypeach has sold more than ten thousand of these boxes over the last few months. Also on the menu are macarons shaped distinctively to resemble seashells, or brushed with a light dusting of rose gold, making them look nearly too good to eat. Nearly.
Starts at $10 for a box of 5; available at Honeypeach
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Chef Sean Yang Chiak has had a passion for French pastry since his youth, and spent years training in both Singapore and Paris. His insider knowledge of the macaron is hard-won, as he spent years struggling to master the craft of a crunchy shell and a soft, melting interior. Now, he has a simple vision: to let people in Singapore experience the magnificence of the French dessert without having to travel halfway around the world. Chiak hopes that his magician’s skills in the kitchen will immerse his audience in French culture, one bite at a time. He and his team aim to create desserts that not only taste good, but also evoke a sense of intrigue and wonder in their customers. The pâtisserie consistently comes out with decadent new flavours of gourmet macaron every few months, whipping up a distinctive glossary of flavour pairings, such as chestnut cream with blackcurrant jelly, dark chocolate with raspberry-rose confiture, and mandarin with coconut. Though the macarons have previously only been sold as a seasonal special, the chef has plans to list the treat as a permanent menu fixture very soon.
$3.50 for a macaron; available at Chiak Patisserie
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Semi-Sweet by DN
This halal bakery’s social media is a veritable ode to all the different kinds of petite desserts one can whip up in their own kitchen with enough skill. A constant presence on Semi-Sweet by DN’s page, however, are the boxes and boxes of bright macarons. Sometimes coming in pastels of lilac and turquoise, sometimes in vivid shades of coral and red, the macarons are some of the more recent additions to the bakery’s menu, and have proved to be exceedingly popular with the bakery’s loyal clientele. Even Michelle Chong is apparently a huge fan, having taken to Instagram to rave about the bakery’s boxes of macarons, tarts, brownies, and cookies.
Starts at $21.50 for a box of 12; available at Semi-Sweet by DN
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Though a peek into any TWG Tea outlet is proof enough that their chefs are masters at handling any kind of dessert pastry, it’s their macarons that play a starring role. The quintessential paired-with-tea snack for the company, TWG has been infusing its myriad of delicate tea flavors into its macarons for over a decade. Committed to offering teas directly from source gardens, TWG Tea’s collection is the largest in the world. Their fine harvests from every tea-producing country in the world sneak subtly into their ganache fillings and almond biscuits. And though it’s since gone international—with 68 Tea Salons & Boutiques now in 19 countries and territories—TWG remembers its roots as a homegrown brand. It’s more than worth paying a visit to any of TWG Tea’s Salons & Boutiques in Singapore to pair their new Fall Haute Couture Tea Collection with an equally delightful macaron selection.
$24 for a box of 48; available at TWG Tea