One-of-a-kind macarons by Aline
*Editor’s note: main photo by Alayna Kaye Photography
By: Jennifer Zeleski
Macarons have been popping up regularly in recent years. The sweet, pastel-colored cookies are earning likes on Instagram and are being sold at local bakeries. The distinct aesthetic has set macarons apart from other baked goods. Despite the growing popularity and accessibility, local and handmade macarons are the way to go, baker Aline Poindexter says.
“Don’t go and buy frozen macarons, and then tell me you don’t like macarons,” Poindexter said. She opened her at-home business devoted to macarons, Macarons by Aline, in February 2017, operating out of her low-risk home kitchen.
Poindexter is a self-proclaimed perfectionist and creative; she wanted to earn some money for the household as a stay-at-home mom, but also have something more to offer than what had become her daily routine.
“As a stay-at-home mom, you feel isolated,” Poindexter said. “You wake up, take care of the kids, make food, and take care of the house. Sometimes you feel like a robot. So having my own business would be my creative outlet.”
She noticed that macarons were trendy at the time, and after a few somewhat successful attempts, (she still has photo evidence of her first batch) she was up to the challenge of perfecting macarons.
“The cookie is basically a meringue where you fold almond flour and powdered sugar together. But it’s such a finicky cookie,” Poindexter said. “When you start baking, you have to try different oven temperatures. If you take them out too early, they will deflate. If you take them out past the time, they’ll get browned and a little burned.”
To top it off, baking the “shells” of the macarons was only the beginning.
“There’s a whole process,” Poindexter said. “You make the shells, and your buttercream filling, and then you have to wait until they’re completely at room temperature to fill and close them. Then you have to wait 24 hours for them to mature.”
After plenty of trial-and-error, she got the macarons exactly where she wanted them.
“The right consistency is not too crumbly, it’s just a little hard on the outside, and when you bite into it, it’s soft on the inside.”
After letting the guests of her children’s birthday parties offer their feedback, she decided to open the business that would allow her creative freedom, a flexible schedule, and some profit to bring to their household’s budget. But there was another specific motivator that led her to officially getting the business up and running.
“I am from Brazil, and [in 2017] I wanted to apply for my United States citizenship, but I didn’t have the $800,” Poindexter said. “And people really seemed to like the macarons that I made. So I took some inspiration from other business on Instagram, and decided to sell them in monthly boxes.”
Each box was holiday-themed, starting with Valentine’s Day. They featured a dozen macarons with assorted flavors like toasted coconut, salted caramel and raspberry white chocolate. Those are just a few of Poindexter’s favorites.
She continued making and selling the boxes for several months, as they found their way into the hands of family, friends and strangers. She had green macarons for St. Patrick’s Day, pastels for Easter, as well as themed boxes for Mother’s and Father’s day.
By the summer, she had earned enough to pay for her United States citizenship. After a few months of a break, she was on to the next goal: a new oven.
“I worked all of , and I saved enough to buy a convection oven,” Poindexter said. “When I first started, I would make about 35 macarons per every two hours or so, and now I can bake 105 macarons at once, which is a huge difference. Now it’s a lot faster and a lot easier.”
Since Poindexter can make more macarons by day, she has fulfilled more custom orders for weddings, birthdays and even local, special events. Recently her macarons were in a gift basket to Gladys Knight after a performance at her church.
Poindexter has progressed into custom black and marbled macarons, even though she prefers pastels, heart-shaped, and even metallic and hand-painted. A box of her macarons is $20 for a dozen, and she promises they’re worth the price tag.
“The price that you’re paying for them is a lot of labor that you have to put into it,” Poindexter said. “Some people are surprised because they’re not huge cookies. They are the traditional macaron size, but they’re a lot of work and technique. I make sure each are perfect. I don’t sell bubbled or cracked macarons, and I work really hard to make them not just look good, but taste really good.”
In 2018, Poindexter is looking forward to fulfilling more custom orders and continuing her monthly holiday boxes, which can be ordered through Facebook, Instagram or her website. For now, she is continuing to tackle her new goals with her macaron profit.
“I have always wanted to go back to school and finish college. So I recently enrolled in a program from BYU Idaho, and I am studying finances and business,” Poindexter said. “I figure once the kids are in school full time, I will have my degree and I will be able to move on from there. My goal is not to have a career in business or finance. I would love to have a tea and macaron place. Ideally, a macaron boutique.”
Interested in ordering some macarons from Macarons by Aline? You can find Aline on Facebook, Instagram, and her website, macaronsbyaline.com.
Jenn Zeleski is a student contributor to YES! Weekly. She is originally from Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, and is currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Communications at High Point University.