For Donna Chan, it was love at first bite. It began in 2013 when her mother was trying to bake the classic French treat, macarons. After biting into the delicate, airy cookie and the layer of rich chocolate ganache filling, Donna was immediately hooked.
Macarons, not to be confused with macaroons, are notoriously difficult to master; they're dainty and finicky. From the measurements to the temperature, everything must be precise. The meringue can't be under or over whisked. The egg whites can't be too fresh. The piping can't be uneven either. Not to mention, there are some things out of one's control, like humidity. The key ingredient? Perseverance.
For the next year, Donna traveled and studied the process of making macarons. After spending many sleepless nights researching and testing methods, she finally created perfect traditional macarons. Yet, she still felt like they lacked something and knew she needed a breakthrough.
Embracing her Asian heritage, Donna began infusing unique flavors such as taro, green tea, and other non-traditional flavors into her macarons. They were an instant hit with friends and family who encouraged Donna to continue creating macarons with an Asian flair. And she did exactly that. Macadons (a play off the words "macarons" and "Donna") was born.
Donna and her business partner, Michael Huynh, started with flavors that they both loved, but weren't typical to macarons. One was durian, a polarizing fruit with a pungent smell that's found in Southeast Asia. They weren't the only ones who loved the flavor; customers were buying dozens of durian macarons at a time.
With their unusual flavors and ability to print custom designs and photos right onto the cookie, Macadons, then solely an online business, took off. But having to manage a fledgling business on top of a full-time career was overwhelming. They made the ultimate decision to quit their jobs and pursue Macadons full time, despite being told to give up on multiple occasions.
"Sure, it was frightening not to have a steady income, health insurance, or a safety net, but seeing the smiles on the faces of our customers after they tried our products - on their wedding days, birthdays, anniversaries, and regular life - made it all worthwhile," Donna said.
In 2018, Macadons opened its first storefront in White Center, and now has nine employees. While durian continues to be a customer favorite, they have more than 20 flavors, including classics such as vanilla and strawberry and seasonal favorites like pumpkin spice and salted caramel apple. They also have expanded their menu by offering ice cream. Interest grew when they thought a macaron ice cream sandwich would be amazing, and it was.
Besides making delicious macarons and ice cream, Macadons is committed to the White Center community in South Seattle. Although they're still in the growing stages, they try to give back as much as they can, whether it's through donation drives or working with organizations that support great causes.
"We opened our flagship store in White Center because this is the place that gave us our start, and the support of this community has given us the courage to continue our journey," Donna said.
To learn more, visit Macadons.com or check out @macadons on Instagram.