Love at first bite for local macaron baker

Published 9:11 am Wednesday, December 8, 2021

On a honeymoon at “The Most Magical Place on Earth” is where the story of The Mac Box begins. More specifically, this French macaron and fine pastries business got its start at the France Pavilion, part of the World Showcase within Epcot. That is where Taylor and Chad Carnahan sampled their first macarons. It was love at first bite.

“For our four-year anniversary, my husband gave me macarons,” Carnahan said. “When we opened them, they were all smashed up. We were so disappointed. We were both home. This was during COVID. So, I just decided I’d try making my own.”

French macarons are notoriously difficult. First of all, the outcome is incredibly sensitive to moisture in the eggs, thus in the batter and like many baked good, in the atmosphere. The shell should be perfectly smooth and shiny. The “feet” are a feat.

“If you watch baking shows, and my husband and I do, you’ll notice that macarons, when and if they are assigned, give the contestants – usually professionals – a challenge,” Carnahan said. “Most bakeries won’t make them.”

Taylor does not have an industrial kitchen, not even two ovens. She says she’s always liked trying new recipes for baked goods, and she was working at a vet clinic before her macaron success story. Taylor’s macarons – not to be confused with macaroons, which are made of coconut – turned out even better than expected, in looks and taste. Feeling confident she could repeat her success, she threw up a social media post to gage interest in macarons for Mother’s Day.

“I received so many requests, I had to take the post down almost immediately,” she said. “I took 50 orders and baked 600 macarons. That was in May and I remember my husband looking at me and saying, what just happened?”

The Mac Box sells to a café and to a wine store. In October, she and her husband decided to have a Mac Box booth at the DeQuincy Farmers Market. In a little over an hour, she sold 800 macarons. She made 1800 of the lightly crisp on the outside, chewy on the inside, melt-in-your-mouth, buttery treats in two days for the December’s market. Business was brisk and inventory was already at a steep decline after an hour, but at least The Mac Box wasn’t sold out.

“We had no idea where it was headed back in March when I put that first batch in the oven,” she said. “It’s been a roller coaster, but it’s been super fun. Now it’s a full-fledged business.”