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Dana's Bakery macarons review


Dana's bakery macarons full review 2021
TOPIC
DETAILS
GRADE
Price Overpriced. $2.75 per macaron compared to average online $2.10.
4/10
Order process Smooth. Good website. Dana's bakery could add the option to pick specific flavors though.
7/10
Shipping Overpriced. $18 is the minimum shipping cost. No Free shipping. Dana's bakery do not ship to PO BOX.
3/10
Transit Paid $18 for 2-day shipping. Received 5 days after.
4/10
For events? The bakery advise to call if you need macarons for an event. No on-website option though.
5.5/10
Who is Dana's bakery? The head of company is identified. The place is legit with one pop up store in New York.
8/10
Unboxing Branded box. Bubble wrap inside. No insulated pouch to help better transit.
6.5/10
Quality Most macarons on my order were wet and melted. Most likely shipped frozen and thaw during transit.
4/10
Taste Macarons too buttery. Flavors hard to distinguish.
4.5/10

After reviewing Ma-ka-rohn, I now get to another popular online macaron store: Dana's Bakery.

I will describe my full experience using their macaron delivery service: Ordering process, shipping and transit, packaging, quality of the macarons, taste test, etc.

  • About this review

French chefs at Pastreez

My name is Anthony and I am the French chef behind Pastreez. My wife and I are Parisian chefs from Le Cordon Bleu Paris. We are based in California, and ship macarons & crêpes fresh accross the US.

We like to consider ourselves as macarons experts!

I conducted this review the same way you would order from Dana's Bakery: I ordered from their website, and documented every step during the journey.

The objective is to give you insights, and help you decide if Dana's bakery macarons are a good fit for you.

  • Price

Macarons from Dana's bakery are definitely on the higher price point. Each macaron costs $2.75, where the average price for a macaron is usually around $2.10.

They are sold in sets of twelve only, for $33 + $18 minimum shipping. Which means for 12 macarons delivered to your door by Dana's bakery, it would cost you $51.. Ouch!

But let's see how the experience goes.

Note that there no gift boxes, or no bigger assortment. It means you can only purchase 12 macarons sets, towers and a subscription box.

It can be tricky if you need macarons for a party and do not want to spend too much on a tower, or if you wish to send a fancy gift.

I think the panel of macarons sets from Dana's Bakery could be more diverse to match your needs.

  • Order process

Dana's bakery order process

Dana's bakery order process was smooth. The website is colorful and has more pastries apart from macarons. Pictures are great, and clearly took by professionals.

One thing that is missing though, is the ability to build your own macarons box. It is actually odd: At the time I ordered, I was able to pick my flavors.

Few days later, when I'm writing this review, it's not possible anymore on their website.

I understand it could be hard for bakeries to meet the customer specific taste, but to me it is a must have.

At Pastreez, you are able to pick only the flavors you like.

When I purchase macarons online, I can be picky. For example, I'm not a fan of flavors like birthday cake. I really like to only pick what I want.

I feel like a popular macaron store like Dana's bakery should go the extra mile, and allow you to customize your own set online.

  • Shipping options

Shipping options from Dana's bakery

Shipping is a big thing online. It is the sour surprise at checkout when you order anything.

At Dana's bakery, there is no Free shipping, for any amount your order could be. That's a bummer, everyone loves free shipping! Especially when the macarons are pricy on the first hand.

Then, the shipping cost are the higher you could find online. You will pay a minimum of $18 for shipping, and $38 for overnight shipping.

That is very expensive. Especially for a small box of 12 macarons from Dana's bakery.

For this price, you get two day air shipping with UPS, which is a good point. It means your order will transit for only two business days.

But here is the thing, Dana's bakery ship only Monday to Wednesday. At this price, I would really expect my macarons to ship faster to my door.

It means if I order on a Wednesday, I would expect my order the following Wednesday. Paying $18 for a week to ship is a long way in my opinion.

For overnight, it ships Monday to Thursday. So the whole week is covered except weekends. That is fair because UPS do not deliver on weekends, depending where you are located.

Also note that if you want to order for an event, there is no way to add "ship later" date to ship later on. You would need to contact the bakery by email or phone.

  • Transit time

See below the process and transit time for my order with Dana's bakery:

    • Ordered on Sunday Aug. 22nd at 8:12pm

    • On Monday 8/23 at 8:14am, Dana's bakery reached out to tell me they do not ship to PO BOX

    • I replied within an hour with a new shipping address
    • On Tuesday 8/24 at 6:46am, I was told the order would ship the same day
    • The order actually shipped the following day, Wednesday Aug. 25th at 4:46am, with UPS 2nd day air

    • Delivered on Friday Aug. 27th at 4:05pm

Not shipping to PO BOX can be annoying to people living in rural areas.

Then, the customer representative told me the order would ship the same day, which wasn't the case. I was a bit disappointed, especially with $18 shipping cost.

I have ordered from other macaron stores that have more economic shipping costs, and delivered faster.

At Pastreez we like to offer plenty of options for shipping, depending of your needs: Free shipping over $69, $9.90 economic shipping, UPS 3 day air, UPS 2nd day air, and UPS Next day air (overnight).

  • Who is Dana's bakery?

Ordering macarons online is a new thing. Few years back, it wasn't possible.

It's why I like to know where the food come from, and who made it. At Dana's bakery, the least we can say is that she is identified. It is a good point.

You are able to check on her experience with baking, and her story. They also have a legit address for their warehouse, which makes you feel you're in great hands.

That being said, upon my research on Glassdoor and other employees websites, Dana apparently doesn't bake the macarons, nor supervise it in the kitchen. That's fine!

But I like full transparency, especially with food. Knowing who bake your macarons is always a plus.

At Pastreez, all macarons batches are made by my wife and I, both French chefs from Le Cordon Bleu Paris.

Another great point: Dana's bakery has a pop up store in New York. That shows that the company is legit and popular.

  • Dana's bakery unboxing 

Alright let's go with this unboxing of Dana's bakery macarons.

Dana's bakery macarons unboxing

I received the package on Friday at 4:05pm, and did this review right away the same day.

The first point is branding. Buying macarons online is a journey. From the website experience, the emails, and the quality of the box is important.

Dana's bakery carton box was branded, meaning there were "Dana's bakery" stamp on it, along with other things. This way, when you go pick up the package, you get this excitement when you see the box.

Something odd I'd like to mention, the carton box was way too big. Like really really big. Especially for a small twelve macarons set in it.

The size of the carton box was about one and half foot long. Yes that big!

This causes an issue. What's inside that package will move a lot during transit, due to the empty space.

When you transit delicate treats, you want to optimize shipping with a box fits right in.

There was an indication saying "fragile", but a bright sticker that would say "Perishable" would be wise. You don't want to let this box too long outside.

Note that the box, probably due to its size and emptiness (not enough bubble wrap), was partially damaged.

  • What's inside

    • Thin bubble wrap & invoice

Upon opening the carton box, you see bubble wrap. Like I was expecting, there were not enough bubble wrap in it to fill the box.

The delicate macarons might get damaged because of that.

Using air cushion is a smart way to avoid this. This solution is pretty easy to implement, and fill the whole box.

At the bottom of the box, there was the invoice, with my flavor selection. That's a good point to remind me what macaron flavors I ordered.

    • Pouch (not insulated)

Under the bubble wrap, there was bubble plastic pouch, where the macarons were. To my surprise, the pouch wasn't insulated.

An insulated pouch is silver colored, like a metal layer. This layer keeps heat away during transit.

Since I paid big bucks for this twelve macarons from Dana's bakery, I was expecting an impeccable shipping experience.

On this pouch, the shipping team might have forgotten to remove the paper that cover the sticker to seal it. You can see it on the picture.

Again, nothing too important, but when you pay $51 for twelve macarons, you expect higher standards.

    • Inside the pouch: Ice packs

Now it's time to open the pouch.

There were two ice packs, two cards, and the macarons.

Dana's bakery ice packs

The two ice packs were warm, as it should be. Ice packs might seems a good idea at first. But in reality it is useless.

In fact, ice packs are cold only a few hours. When your package transits for two days, it does not make any difference.

It's important to note that macarons transit safely by nature, a long as you use ganache filling instead of buttercream.

Since Dana's bakery uses lots of butter for its recipes (we'll get to it in the next steps), it's a real challenge for them to actually ship.

You might ask yourself, what is a ganache filling vs buttercream filling? Ganache uses lighter ingredients like white chocolate, while buttercream is a filling with a butter base.

It might sounds like a detail, but it makes a huge difference. At Pastreez we do not use any butter for our macarons.

Butter is heavy, fat, and prevent you to actually taste the real flavor of a macaron. In addition, butter do not travel good.

As an example, when you go to the supermarket, butter is in the fresh section, refrigerated. White chocolate is in the dry section with other condiments. 

    • Inside the pouch: Two cards

The two cards inside the pouch show the macaron menu, best practices to enjoy the macarons, and a macaron of the month card.

That is a good point. A macaron menu is key to know which is what when you start the degustation.

The macaron of the month card is a great thing. They must print a new card monthly, which shows that the company stays creative.

 Alright, let's take a look at those macarons from Dana's bakery!

  • The macarons: First look

Dana's bakery macarons review

First of all, I could feel the company invested into branding. You can see their logo on the packaging, which is a good point.

The gold ribbon is a nice little touch. Not that the packaging come in two parts: A plastic square that surrounds a clamshell blister.

Now what about the macarons? I have to be brutally honest: It does not long good.

Before opening the first square packaging box, I could see that every single macaron was either damaged, wet and melted.

Now the packaging itself looked good, there was no bump or noticeable damage.

But after opening the first packaging, then the clamshell, I was disappointed with the result. But I still have hope (always!). Let's have a closer look.

  • Dana's bakery macarons: Closer look

There are few issues here: The macarons were melted and / or wet.

    • Melted macarons: Explanation

The melted issue can be explained: Dana's bakery uses too much butter in its filling.

Dana's bakery macarons review 2021

Remember, butter do not travel safe. This is why it is in the fresh section at your supermarket. Would you order butter to ship to your door? I wouldn't personally, neither should you :)

Most fillings made by Dana's bakery contain butter as main ingredient.

It impacts the taste (more about it on the taste test), the quality, and the transit.

The result: Butter will liquefy in transit and melt in the macaron packaging.

Food has to be appealing for me to want to taste it. Sadly the macarons do not look good. But don't worry, I'll still try every single one to continue this review.

    • Wet macarons: Explanation

Then, almost every macaron was wet. This is coming from something you might not suspect: Dana's bakery macarons are most likely shipped frozen.

Dana's bakery macarons review

I might be wrong, but I saw few things that point towards this explanation.

There is a specific smell of thawing. A normal smell for fresh macarons are almond and fruit purée or chocolate. It wasn't the case here.

Also, when something is wet, there is water.

Since the packaging was sealed, the water does not come from outside. It comes from inside.

But here is the thing, macarons don't "sweat" at ambient temperature. To be this wet, it must come from thawing during transit.

I also saw few spots of water inside the blister. This is a pattern of thawing as well. 

So the macarons were not shipped fresh (when were my macarons made?), they are wet, melted, and I paid $51 for twelve macarons. I can't tell you how disappointed I am.

I want to give Dana's bakery the benefit of the doubt.

Maybe it was related to my specific order. Since every order ships with UPS Two day air, transit time would be the same anywhere in the US though.

Checking on quality and taste test will be a challenge at this point, but I hope I will have a better experience!

  • Dana's bakery quality

At this moment of the review, I do a deeper analysis on the quality of Dana's bakery macarons.

Dana's bakery macarons quality test

To do so, I cut every flavor in half to check on the shell and filling. I give you my insights on the texture, freshness, hollow / not hollow shells, color, roundness, shells feet, and size of the macarons.

    • Texture / Freshness

A macaron signature taste is crunchy outside, chewy inside.

The filling should spread into the hard shells, creating this perfect balance in your mouth, waking up your tastebuds.

The texture of Dana's bakery macarons lost their crunchy outside. This is due to the fact the the macarons were frozen prior. The result: macarons are watery.

Dana's bakery macarons test

When you retrieve anything from your freezer, and let it on the kitchen countertop for a while, you'll see a layer of water on top of it.

It is due to the thawing process. This is what most likely happened with these.

Now about freshness, since the macarons were previously frozen, there is no way to know where they were made. It could be days, weeks, months.

Fresh macarons has no layer of water on its shells. It's an easy way for you to ensure freshness, wherever you buy macarons online.

    • Hollow macarons?

 A "hollow" macaron happens when there is air trapped in the shells. It creates an empty space inside the shell and weaken the macaron. It can also cause cracks. See below, one of Dana's bakery macaron that was "hollow".

Dana's bakery hollow macaron

There are few tips to remove air from the batter, prior to baking. After piping your batter, simply tap ten times your pan sheet on your counter to release air bubbles (check our upcoming online macarons classes).

I like to check on that, because it shows a bakers' ability to make good macarons. It also shows his / her experience.

Dana's bakery macarons hollow

Dana's bakery macarons on this point were fair. I noticed a few hollow macarons, about four out of twelve (it was hard to tell due to the level of damage). 

    • Color / Roundness

The macarons have great colors. Each has a distinctive, easy to recognize color to match the menu card (it's not always the case!).

Having colorful macarons shows that the bakers did not over baked their batches.

With macarons, it is very easy to slight burn a batch. Few extra seconds in the oven, and your shells will brownish. It was not the case here.

I like to check macarons roundness on my macaron reviews. For example, if every single macaron has the exact same shape and size, they were most likely mass produced with a depositor machine.

That's not necessarily a bad point. I personally prefer to buy from artisans that bake macarons 100% by hand. Knowing that every single macaron is unique is appealing to me.

But at least with a depositor machine, all your macarons has a perfect round shape. I can't complain about that!

    • Macarons feet / Size

 Macarons feet are the swollen part of the shells. Good macarons feet are about half the height of the shell.

It is an important aspect to notice because it's purely a baking thing. With experience and knowledge, every baker will be able to have great macarons feet.

 Dana's bakery macarons feet were good. I think this bakery knows how to make good shells, but lack with their filling and shipping. With a few adjustments it could be much better.

  • Dana's bakery Taste test

It is time to taste all these macarons flavors from Dana's bakery! I reviewed one by one each macaron flavor that I ordered.

I will do my best to taste it all, but due to the melted / wet conditions of these macarons, it is a real challenge.

    • Neapolitan macaron

This macaron looked good, but sadly had no taste. The filling is way too buttery.

    • Key lime macaron

The filling had a slight lime taste, which was okay. But the macaron was dry and inconsistent. I suspect since this is a fruity flavor, there was no butter in it at all (yeay!).

But they might have forgot to add a ganache base filling, with white chocolate to keep the whole experience smooth.

    • Orange creamsicle macaron

I did not enjoyed this flavor sadly. I could feel the orange extract being too present in mouth. It had also the same than key lime: Being a fruity flavor, they did not added butter, and the filling was dry.

Butter is not the only solution to keep your macarons smooth! A ganache based filling, with white chocolate instead of butter is the key.

    • Champagne celebration macaron

This macaron flavor sadly had no taste. I had the same feeling with the champagne macaron flavor from my Ma-ka-rohn review.

Champagne does not have strong enough taste to put it in a macaron in my opinion. I don't think there was alcohol in it either.

I was surprised that this specific filling had a peanut butter taste.

    • Smores macaron

The flavor was good. It was more a chocolate macaron to me.

    • Red velvet macaron

Taste was on the okay side. This macaron also tasted like peanut butter.

I'm not sure why would Dana's bakery add a peanut butter base flavor to red velvet macaron. Could it be cross-contamination?

    • Chocolate molten macaron

The filling was great. The taste and texture was more like a brownie to me. It might be due to the wet / melted issue though. This flavor is the one that stands out of my selection.

    • Strawberry shortcake macaron

There was no specific taste to it. I couldn't feel the Strawberry fruit purée. It seems like all fruity flavors are a challenge for Dana's bakery.

    • Birthday cake macaron

The flavor was okay, considering the conditions of the macarons upon delivery. This flavor should taste like Caramel and Vanilla. I could feel that which is a good point.

    • PB & J macaron

The taste was good. You can't really mistake with a peanut butter base filling.

    • Cookie dough macaron

This flavor is interesting. The cookie dough itself was good. I'm sure people at Dana's bakery has great experience in that, because they also sell cookies.

But in a macaron, I'm not sure it's a good fit. The macaron was dry.

Remember, a macaron is supposed to have a crunchy outside / chewy inside balance. The cookie dough filling was too hard. It wasn't "wet" enough to spread into the shells.

    • Café Mocha macaron

I liked this flavor. I'm more a tea guy than a coffee guy. But I like the smell and taste of a coffee pastry. This macaron flavor looked good and tasted good.

  • My conclusion

I had big expectations when I ordered macarons online at Dana's bakery.

Not only because of the price tag, but also because the company advertise a lot about its macarons.

On the taste test, it's just my opinion as a macaron French chef. You might like macarons with butter.

But the huge disappointment was the conditions in which the macarons arrived: Melted, wet, and broken down.

It might be my specific order that had this issue. But still. Every order from Dana's bakery ships with UPS 2nd day air. We can't blame it on the carrier.

A good thing is the creativity to create "American flavors" for French macarons.

I'm sure if you live in New York, it would be worth it to try the macarons straight out of their pop up store for pick up. But sadly those macarons do not ship well, due to quantity of butter used.

I hope this review helped you in your macarons buying decision.

Oh by the way, today's deal is 7 free macarons for any $42+ purchase. Don't wait!


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