Today, we venture into the kitchen with Ana Paredes, graduate of the architecture department of Arizona State University and her partner in baking, creativity, and life, Jose. By day, an architectural designer and an engineer, by night macaron bakers, these two have been cooking up something pretty tasty down in Dallas, Mad Macs Dallas. Prepare to drool…
Describe your product.
Mad Macs Dallas specializes in macarons. Macarons are french pastries made with almond flour, egg whites and sugar than filled with various ganaches or buttercreams.
What is the difference between a Macaron and a Macaroon?
A macaron is a French pastry made with almond flour, powdered sugar, and a meringue. A macaroon is an American cookie made with coconut flakes.
What led you to create this product?
I have always loved macarons but never knew how to make them. So my husband is the person that first made macarons for me and we continued to practice together, experimenting with different flavors. Our friends and family encouraged us to start selling them because they were that good.
Mad Macs Dallas offers PB Jelly, Mint Chocolate, Dark Magic, Yello Mello, Me So Spicy, Chile Con Limon, Raspberry, Mimosa, Pistachio, Vanilla, Hazelnut, Smore’s, Fruity Pebble, Peppermint, and Almond. Seasonal and custom flavors are available too.
Tell us about your process.
With making macarons, the process is very precise. The ratio of grams of egg white to sugar to flour is the most important thing. My husband and I started with an initial ratio but then had to alter it slightly just to improve the look and consistency of them. The second most important thing for macarons is the oven temperature at which you bake them. It has to remain consistent, even though they only have to be baked for 10-11 minutes. The process may not seem intense, but there are many variables that could go wrong. The meringue may not be stiff enough, the batter is too loose or not loose enough, and even if you do everything right – the oven still has the last say! It could be game over if your oven decides to act up.
How did you decide which tools to use?
When we first started, we were using a stand mixer (see video below), regular pans and parchment paper. Once we realized that our macarons were not looking as professional as they could look, we invested in professional equipment such as silpats, baking pans, additional bowls and spatulas. It was all trial and error with us until we found the perfect baking tools to use. Initially we didn’t invest the money for real silpats, but bought off-brand ones thinking they would work the same. Well they didn’t and we learned that quickly!
Share a resource that helped you in this project.
Where do you typically display your work online?
Tell us about your School’s architecture program.
ASU’s graduate school program for Architecture was truly a great experience. 4 semesters of highly integrative studios and other classes that pushed the design conversation to a whole new level. I expected this program to offer a good education but was really surprised by the high quality of professors, colleagues and classes that I was exposed to every semester. By far the best semester for me, and the most challenging, was third semester studio which was an international studio. The studio I chose was interdisciplinary, filled with architecture, landscape, health care designers, and biomedical students. All of us worked closely together on a project for Native American Connections to help design an affordable housing and wellness clinic for them. Both which are under construction now and nearing completion with our initial ideas still intact.
What do you do now that you’ve graduated?
After graduating, I moved back to Dallas to be closer to my now husband, Jose. I work at SmithGroupJJR as an architectural designer. That is my day job. At night, I’m a macaron baker with my husband, Jose.
For more information on Ana and Jose’s company Mad Macs Dallas, visit their website. And if you are in Dallas, head over to Spice in the City to try these delicious works of art. They have a few markets that they will be participating in this year so just check back on Instagram for those announcements.
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