We hear whispers that macarons are the new cupcakes. One sweet bite of a MadMac macaron—from Paris-born Florian Bellanger—and you’ll believe all the rumors are true. Bellanger honed his art under the tutelage of the French pastry chef Pierre Hermé, whose name is synonymous with macarons, and went on to oversee desserts at Le Bernardin and Fauchon USA. After meeting Ludovic Augendre at Fauchon, where Augendre was executive assistant pastry chef, the pastry partners cooked up MadMac (the title fuses madeleines and macarons, the company’s specialties). Each macaron is crafted by hand with almond flour sourced from California and fresh butter and local eggs, without a preservative in sight. Eating one of their creations is a descent into pure pleasure: The delicate shells crackle as you bite into their chewy filled center; the flavors sing of rich chocolate, tart raspberry, nutty pistachio and bright, bracing lemon. There’s no doubt that these Mac daddies will make you jump.

Icing on the Cupcake

If you think baking is all sweetness and light, check out our main Mac man, Florian Bellanger, as he plays judge at the Food Network’s Cupcake Wars.