I enjoy baking and consider myself to be pretty good at it. Not an expert by any means, but I can make a decent batch of cookies/cake/brownies, etc. from scratch. One baked good that has eluded me for quite some time is the finicky French macaron. I’ve attempted them several times and only once did I make a good batch with the perfect little feet, rounded dome and chewy interior.
I remember seeing them for the first time a couple years ago when I moved to LA and ate at Bottega Louie, a French/American restaurant with a gorgeous patisserie section. (A review on BL coming up eventually in the blog). Bottega Louie displays them in a giant rainbow of colors, and it’s tempting to get every single flavor. Their macarons are probably the most Instagram-ed food item in Los Angeles. Since then I’ve tried macarons from quite a few places, some of which were disappointing and others that are amazing.
There’s a macaron shop called Honey & Butter that is well known for their creatively decorated macarons. I’ve been following their Instagram account for a while now and am in awe of their decorating skills because regular macarons are hard enough to make, but to make them in different shapes and to look like characters from various TV shows and movies?! Their character macarons are insanely popular and usually sell out within an hour of opening. But they also sell regular macarons as well.
They’re located in Costa Mesa in a small shopping center called The Lab, which is about an hour away. I so rarely go down to Orange County, but I decided I absolutely had to go when they announced one of their themes was Sailor Moon, a Japanese cartoon show dubbed into English that I loved as a kid.
Ross and I got there 30 minutes before opening and there were already about a dozen people in line ahead of us. Did I mention it was also 90 degrees outside? I really hoped the macarons tasted as good as they looked.
They had so many flavors! There’s another whole shelf below the ones pictured above with more flavors and it was so hard to decide which ones to try, but I got a pack of 6 in a gift box and 5 Sailor Moon-themed macarons.
Look how smooth the shells are! They use really high quality, finely ground almond flour.
What I loved about these macarons was the consistency in the texture. All the flavors had the right chewy, soft texture for the shells. No hollows or holes. And they lasted several days! I bought the macarons on Sunday and stored them in the fridge. I ate the last of them on Thursday and it was still nice and chewy. I’ve tried other macarons that get really dry and hollow the day after I buy them.
Verdict: I highly recommend Honey & Butter macarons; these are some of the best I’ve had and I’ve even tried the gold standard (Laduree) but what I love is the creativity of their designs and the unique flavors!
Strawberry Lemonade (pink and yellow shells): I could taste real strawberries in the filling. It tasted true to the flavor name; the buttercream had a nice balance of tart from the lemon and sweet from the strawberries.
Churro (white and pink shells): Top shell was sprinkled with cinnamon sugar mixture. Buttercream filling had cinnamon sugar flavor to it. Tasted like churros, but not like cinnamon buns– cinnamon bun/roll flavored stuff tends to taste really cinnamon-y and creamy, but this tasted like straight cinnamon sugar, so more true to churros.
Milk and honey (pure white): a light vanilla taste with a hint of honey. Not too sweet.
Matcha (white shells): The matcha green tea buttercream was perfect– it wasn’t bitter the way matcha can be sometimes and had a light floral note to it.
Sea salt caramel (robin’s egg blue shells): So some places that do a salted caramel macaron have a caramel buttercream, others do a caramel filling. H&B uses a salted caramel buttercream and it was sooo good.
French Toast Crunch (white and robin’s egg blue shells): This was so cute with the French Toast Crunch cereal pieces, I had to get it. It tasted kind of similar to the churro macaron, but not as strong a cinnamon flavor.
Luna (chocolate cat): Rich chocolate ganache filling, almost fudge-like in consistency. I don’t love chocolate, I like it but usually prefer other flavors but this was really, really good. I wanted another one.
Artemis (white cat): This had a taro buttercream filling. Taro is a very common ingredient used in Asian desserts; it’s a root vegetable similar to a potato or yam. This tasted like straight up pureed taro in buttercream.
Sailor Pluto: I honestly don’t remember what flavor the filling was but I did wolf it down, so I must have liked it!
Sailor Uranus: Enchanted Berries (raspberry and strawberry). I really enjoyed the filling for this macaron because I don’t really like raspberry on its own, but combining it with strawberry
Sailor Saturn: Vanilla buttercream was smooth and sweet.
Me sitting in front of the Airstream trailer where Honey & Butter is located!
Shirt: American Eagle Outfitters
Skirt: old, Modcloth
Shoes: old, Bait Footwear
Honey & Butter
2930 Bristol Street
Costa Mesa, CA 92626
Tuesday-Sunday: 12PM- until SOLD OUT