Love is in the air. No one does love (or rich, indulgent cuisine) quite like the French. It’s the perfect season to enjoy one of the greatest marriages of French food and passion: macarons.
Macarons are beautiful, bite-sized pastries known for their variety as much as their aesthetic. They are to cookies what gift-wrapping paper is to cardstock. Mild in flavor, macarons are deceptively simple with only three main ingredients: sugar, egg whites and almond flour, whipped and baked into pastel-hued clouds that sandwich a wisp of buttercream. But macarons are some of the most difficult, finicky, bratty pastries a baker could hope to create. That’s why Kelli Watts, owner of Savor Pâtisserie, loves them.
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“I’m half-French, so when I first tried to make them, I figured it couldn’t be that hard. And it was a disaster,” Kelli explains in Savor Pâtisserie’s downtown McKinney location. The shop’s natural wood floors and exposed brick walls complement her modish black and white style.
“There are benchmarks along the way and if you miss one, it’s a disaster. They might explode in the oven—literally explode, I mean half-baked macaron all over the oven—or they might not rise or they melt into one sheet pan of macaron shell that won’t come off,” she laughs. “But I wasn’t about to give up. I was obsessed. After a while, I found a technique that worked for me and ended up creating my own recipe.”
Kelli opened the first Savor location in Dallas in January 2016. Now, there are four shops across DFW. Macarons are enjoying a “moment” and it’s obvious why: They’re easy to love.
Two years ago, there weren’t many places to find macarons in Dallas. However, even as they enjoy a popularity upswing, Savor Pâtisserie stands out in the crowd. Kelli, who comes from a design background, was one of the first in the area to decorate her macarons. Sprinkles and chocolate drizzle abound, each one uniquely designed by hand. Along with their unique flavors, Savor sells cheery little macaron baking kits complete with pink sprinkles and even hosts monthly macaron baking classes.
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Savor Pâtisserie sells traditional French macarons as well as flavors you won’t find anywhere else. Kelli’s pride and joy, pistachio, is made with real nuts, not pistachio flavoring which has become commonplace as macarons grow in popularity. Vanilla, chocolate and raspberry are always in high demand. She also whips up distinctly Americanized flavors like s’mores, chocolate peanut butter and cherry limeade. Savor Pâtisserie’s selections change with the seasons too which keeps Kelli’s job exciting; Christmas macarons included candy cane and gingerbread. But around Valentine’s Day, Savor Pâtisserie goes all out.
For all those sweethearts out there, Savor’s Valentine’s Day flavors are: chocolate-covered strawberry, The Anti-love (a midnight-black chocolate macaron for those who don’t have sweethearts), chocolate truffle, Savor’s classic vanilla decorated with hearts, and an extra large heart-shaped macaron that resembles a sweetheart candy.
Each macaron is mild and moist with a fragile shell that’s easy to crush in a bite. The classic pistachio bursts flavor with a surprisingly complex texture thanks to its nutty topping. Pretty and bright, champagne is a long time favorite, made with actual champagne. As for The Anti-love, its rich vanilla filling and dark chocolate shell make falling out of love seem worth it.
“Macarons are adorable,” Kelli says. “They’re colorful and versatile. They’re naturally gluten-free and as desserts go, they’re low on calories, only about 90 to 100 each. Compared to a cupcake, that’s good. You can also be creative with them. You can make new flavors like pumpkin or blueberry cheesecake but they’re still distinctly macarons. They can be whatever you want.”
Whether it’s their chic design, the energy or Kelli’s tried-and-true technique, Savor Pâtisserie’s macarons are works of art. They say “I love you” with the graceful beauty of a bouquet and the delicious indulgence of a box of chocolates. It might be too early to say it but … we think Savor Pâtisserie might be the one.
Savor Pâtisserie | 119 W. Virginia St. #101, McKinney | 469.617.7414 | savorpatisserie.com
Originally published in Plano Profile‘s February 2018 issue under the title “Crush”