The Newest Bakery in Savannah: Mad Mac’s

The Newest Bakery in Savannah: Mad Mac’s

My favorite kind of article to write is the one where I stumble upon a new place—literally.

Several weeks ago, while walking through Wright Square after lunch, I noticed an open sign in the space that once occupied Our Daily Bread.

Intrigued, I immediately walked in and asked the lady behind the counter, “What is this?” She promptly responded, “Mad Mac’s Bakery.”

A quick glance around and my eyes were filled with colorful French macarons, cookies, muffins, and everything in between. I knew immediately I wanted to write about my lucky find.

That lady turned out to be Dee Gibson, mother to owner of Mad Mac’s Bakery, Logan McDonald. While I was in the bakery buying more baked goods than I could stomach, we chatted quickly and without hesitation set me up an interview with McDonald.

I was elated, because a second trip to Mad Mac’s would give me an ample excuse to buy even more sweet treats, which I did.

During my first visit I purchased a six pack of macarons. The price is quite possibly the best in town — you get a half a dozen for only ten bucks.

A few of the flavors I took home included Mexican hot chocolate, confetti, and pistachio. Each macaron had a textbook execution with a light crunchy shell that gives way to a tender and chewy inside.

I also grabbed a few Cup Cookies, which was by far my favorite cookie offered at Mad Mac’s. Cookie dough is mushed into a muffin pan before being baked. The result is a baked good with the perfect cookie texture—a crunchy shell and an ooey gooey soft cookie center. The Cup Cookies have everything you could love about a well baked cookie warm out of the oven.

Mad Mac’s did not stop at simply baking a cookie. Each cup is topped with a hefty piping of soft buttery icing. The chocolate chip was my favorite (mainly because I feel as though a chocolate chip cookie is the ultimate cookie), but the snickerdoodle was just as scrumptious.

I am told by McDonald that the Heath Bar Cup Cookie is their most popular. A third trip may be in order to hunt down the Heath Bar version.

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When I returned to learn about Mad Mac’s from McDonald, I first asked him several questions about the place, then purchased a few more treats to round out my experience.
My first question was, “Where does Mad-Mac’s come from?” McDonald shed some light saying, “My last name is McDonald and McDonald’s is already taken, and of course it works with macarons.”

Of course, I then followed with a series of questions about his recipes and all of the baked good available.

McDonald is the great-grandson of Mabel Francis Potter of Mabel’s Cupckae Emporium. Baking and working with Mabel’s, the idea of Mad Mac’s was not a new one, and had been thrown around before. When the storefront became available, McDonald seized his opportunity to branch out from his family.

Although McDonald is doing his own thing, he explains, “A lot of the recipes come from my great-grandmother Mabel Francis Potter with the cupcake emporium. I am have a little bit of a different take, keeping her naming going and modernizing it a little bit.”

I next ask McDonald about all of the macarons since French macarons seem to be the cornerstone of the store. He tells me that they “make them in house and a lot of places do not…we are constantly making new flavors. We probably have around thirty flavors of macarons.”

Even though there are enough variations of macarons to make anyone happy, the second case of treats in the store is well round and rotates like the macarons.
According to McDonald, “the menu changes, but you can always expect it to include French macarons.”

Because of the ever-available macarons, my second visit I decided to take home some cookie sandwiches and a muffin. The muffin did not make it home.

I never eaten a muffin and expect to be totally wowed. Was I pleasantly surprised with the muffin from Mad Mac’s? Yes. Completely taken aback.

I state this without hesitation—the apple muffin at Mad-Mac’s was one of the most enjoyable muffins I have ever eaten. Large chunks of apple added into the batter make the finished muffin so moist it is almost sticky.

Somehow a super-fine and delicate cake crumble is created by their recipe. McDonald also mentions having a berry and mango filled muffin available as well. The addition of mango into a classic berry muffin highlights his modern take on his family recipes.

As for the cookie sandwich, like all of the other treats in the mountain of baked goods I tried, it was heavenly. Inside of two classic chocolate chip cookies you will find a slathering sweet silky icing. The Red Velvet Cookie Sandwich is a deep dark red cookie with coated with a white glaze and filled with a classic frosting.

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Finally, the case had a Magic Bar, which McDonald says has been extremely popular with patrons. It is created using graham cracker, coconut, chocolate and a few other things. “It’s a gooey coconut chocolate bar. It is glorious,” McDonald says.

McDonald plans to open a comic book shop in the back of the bakery. Which begs the question—why open a comic book store in a bakery?

McDonald elevated my wonder by saying, “Whenever I go into a comic book store it is almost a scary thing. It is a dark place with water dripping down the ceiling. I always wanted to have a high end comic book store.”

Patrons can expect the paper portion of the storefront to open its doors between March and April.

Original article can be found here.

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Irish Cream & Matcha Macarons

Irish Cream & Matcha Macarons

For those of you that have never been to Savannah for St. Patricks Day, you will not understand just how big of a deal it is to the locals.

The night before the big day, my husband and the men in my family go down to the square at three in the morning to set up a tent on parade route. This has been the tradition since before I came around. At 6am, the police blow a whistle, and all of the people waiting rush the square to stake out their spot.

This year, because Vice President is joining the parade, my family will start their post at 6pm tonight and wait for at least twelve hours to post up. Lucky for the ladies, our role has always been to make the snacks and dress pretty!

If you haven’t figured it out by now, green everything is a must…even the food.

French Macarons have been my kryptonite, but I am not one for giving up. Looking in my pantry for this recipe I found the perfect green addition, matcha. And to tie in the Irish theme, I filled them with an Irish cream buttercream.

This recipe goes by weight, and after failing so many times in making Macarons I found that being exact will make you more successful. If yours do not come out perfect, do not get discouraged because with a little time and practice you can figure out how to master these babies.

Matcha Macaron Shells

Ingredients:

  • 150 grams of fine almond flour
  • 150 grams of powdered sugar
  • 110 grams of egg whites
  • 30 grams of matcha powder
  • 165 grams of sugar
  • 55 grams of water

Directions

  1. First make your Tant Pour Tant by sieving together the almond flour and powder sugar, then mix in your matcha powder
  2. Mix 55 grams of your egg whites into your Tant Pour Tant to create an almond paste. Set aside.
  3. In your stand mixer, add the remaining 55 grams of egg whites and beat on high until soft peaks form.
  4. Turn mixer to low, and leave running while you create your simple syrup.
  5. To create simply syrup, combine sugar and water into a small sauce pan and heat over medium heat. Do not stir or the sugar will seize. Heat to 244 degrees Fahrenheit.
  6. Once syrup is ready, turn mixer back to high. Slowly pour syrup down the side of the mixing bowl, whipping until stiff peaks form. This should take about 5 minutes.
  7. In three parts and using a rubber spatula, fold your stiff meringue into the almond paste. After the third part is mixed in, the mixture should be relatively smooth.
  8. Transfer your mixture into a piping bag with a plain number six tip.
  9. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper. To make it easier to make even shells, draw 50 two inch circles onto your parchment papers.
  10. Pipe batter onto your 50 rounds.
  11. Take each pan, ones a time, and lift the tray to chest height. Drop onto the counter three times each. This will flatten the tops and create even disks.
  12. Let rest for at least on hour, uncovered, to create a skin.
  13. 30 minutes before baking, heat your oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Bake for 13 minutes.
  14. Allow to cool to room temperature before removing from the parchment paper.
  15. While cooling, make your buttercream filling. See below.
  16. To make Macarons, pipe one half of your shells with about a teaspoon of buttercream each.
  17. Match your bottom shells with an even sized top shell.
  18. Gently push on your top shell to make the buttercream spread across the cookies.
  19. Store finished Macarons in an airtight container.

Irish Cream Butter Cream

Ingredients:

  • 1 stick of butter, softened
  • 2 cups of powdered sugar
  • 5 tablespoons of Irish Cream
  • A pinch of salt

Directions

  1. In a stand mixer, cream together your butter and sugar.
  2. Once thoroughly mixed, add in your salt and Irish cream.
  3. Continue to mix until fully incorporated and airy.
  4. Transfer into a ziplock bag, or small piping bag.