Dana’s Bakery is the eleventh in my Sunday series featuring American Artisans. There are so many exceptionally talented craftspeople, designers, and small companies across the country who share my love of handcrafted quality, and this is my chance to introduce them to you. These artisans are creating beautiful, useful and delicious products that elevate the experience of everyday cooking, dining, and entertaining. They’re using skills, techniques, and materials that might otherwise be lost in our era of mass production. Their work makes me happy, and I hope it does the same for you. Each feature will be paired with a giveaway to give you the chance to experience their work for yourselves. I’ll be doing these features every other Sunday for the foreseeable future, so be sure to check back, and enjoy!
Dana Loia is the woman behind Dana’s Bakery. What started 3 years ago in a small kitchen in Hawthorne New Jersey has skyrocketed into a national phenomenon. Dana has taken the authentic French macaron and reinvented it with a sense of humor and a dose of Americana — everything in her selection of artisinal flavors is inspired by iconic American desserts and sweets. The Rocket Mac, above, with its tart lemony filling, is a limited edition flavor for the month of July. (It’s a nod to the Rocket Popsicle.) Dana’s macarons are entirely handmade, and come in a dizzying array of choices. Take one look at the macaron gallery and your head will spin!
Just a few short years ago, Dana was working as a photo editor, and had no professional baking experience. When I asked her what motivated such a huge change in careers, she told me — “My last photo editorial job was at Muscle and Fitness Magazine. One day while I was sitting in my cubical (editing photos of men in speedo’s) I found myself asking the question one hopes they never have to ask themselves at the age of 3o — Am I really going to do this for the rest of my life? — At that moment I decided I needed a change! I always knew I loved to bake but never thought about doing it for a living. Shortly after I quit my job at Muscle and Fitness and enrolled in pastry school.”
Dana’s gutsy career shift and the playful irreverence of her cookies really speaks to the American spirit. All of her cookies have the wonderful characteristics of classic French macarons, they have rich creamy centers and delicately crisp chewy meringue cookies… but Dana’s colors are a little bit more vivid, and the flavors, the key to her success I think, are imaginative, fun, and ever-changing. Every one is inspired by uniquely American sweets like Thin Mints, S’mores, Creamsicles, and Red Hots.
Dana’s Bakery does limited edition flavors, a Macaroon of the Month Club, and lots of special orders. Her macaroons give you a chance to think outside the box when it comes to gift giving because they are unique, and you can pretty much customize the flavors to anyone’s taste. Create your own colors scheme, stencil your logo on top, or dream up your own outrageous flavor.
How does Cinnamon French Toast sound?
Keep an eye out, Dana’s will be debuting an all-natural line of macarons to be sold at Whole Foods and other organic/all-natural retailers and specialty stores in the next year. If you live in the greater NYC area, Dana’s Bakery offers classes in the art of macaron making. The class is around 2 1/2 hours, with anywhere from 8 to 12 people per class. You learn how to make French macarons (Dana’s Bakery style) from start to finish, focusing on flavors that align with the season or whatever fun holiday is that week! In addition to taking home the macarons that are made in class, each person gets a recipe packet, an apron, a Dana’s Bakery mug, and a variety pack of the most current flavors. You can sign up here.
Dana’s Bakery is generously giving away a Build Your Own Sampler Box of macarons (you get to choose your favorite flavors) —– to one lucky reader!
To enter, please visit Dana’s Bakery, HERE, and let me know, in a comment below, what flavor is your favorite…you have until Friday July 3rd to enter — good luck!
(Giveaway ends Friday July 3rd )
*I use Random.org to pick the winner, and will announce it here on Saturday. Photos courtesy of Dana’s Bakery. I was not compensated in any way for this post.
*** The winner of the giveaway is Toni Dash, of Boulder Locavore — congrats Toni! ***