Cupcakes are so last month! Macarons (pronounced mak-ah-rohn) are taking bakeries by storm and sweeping the sweet-tooth nation. This traditional French pastry consists of a cream, jam or ganache sandwiched between two airy, almond meringue cookies.
Rocket Baby Bakery, the new kid on the block, opened a short eight months ago and has been a commanding presence on North Avenue in Wauwatosa.
With its purple pillars and fire-engine red lettering, Rocket Baby stands out as a one-of-a-kind bakery, blending in perfectly with the rest of the neighborhood’s cuisine offerings. Inside tiled floors, marble countertops and rich wood paneled walls provide a sophisticated environment, while the red accents and Rocket Baby mural remind you this is no ordinary bakery.
Offering light lunches of sandwiches and salads made with local ingredients, as well as artisan breads and pastries, it is easy to come in for one item and leave with five. Vegan baguettes and vegetarian sandwiches are also available.
Rocket Baby offers a variety of macaron flavors to satisfy every craving. At $1 a piece, these macarons can be a perfect small dessert on a budget, but acquiring a smattering of flavors may run up the cost. Measuring about the size of a half dollar coin (that’s the one with President Kennedy on it), they are the perfect size to mix and match flavors and to indulge in a rich dessert.
Macarons feature an unexpected mix of textures that manage to work well together: a smooth, eggshell-like crust, a crumbly, airy cake-like biscuit, and a smooth center. I sampled pistachio, chocolate, Nutella (yes, the hazelnut-chocolate spread), banana-caramel, vanilla and strawberry-rhubarb.
Here’s a list of my recommendations:
My favorite is vanilla macaron. While this may sound boring, the vanilla bean cream is so velvety and buttery without being too overwhelming with the vanilla flavor. Not to mention this macaron is dyed a popping bright blue!
The second best is the pistachio macaron. These macarons are dyed bright green and are sprinkled with chopped pistachio nuts. The rich pistachio filling is more gel-like — somewhere between a cream and a jam.
Coming in third is the Nutella macaron. Let’s be honest, who doesn’t love Nutella? The taupe colored macaron was filled with a deeper brown Nutella-based cream. Speckled with a dusting of cocoa powder, these macarons are far superior to my usual Nutella and toast.
Fourth place is the chocolate macaron. The light brown macaron is filled with a very rich chocolate ganache — a little too rich. This macaron lacks a broad flavor or texture palette.
My penultimate pick was the bright yellow banana-caramel macaron. While these two taste pairings typically team up well, it seemed like a flavor competition for ownership of this macaron.
Coming in last is the strawberry-rhubarb macaron. This is a jam-based, bright pink macaron. To me, this jam is too sweet and sugary. If you’re craving something sugary and fruity, this macaron will satisfy.
I recommend visiting the bakery earlier in the day if you are going for macarons, they often sell out of flavors toward the end of the night. Rocket Baby’s macarons are gluten-free, made with almond flour and egg whites.
Always busy, Rocket Baby is carving out a niche on North Avenue and this dainty dessert looks like it’s here to stay.