Honey B’s Macarons has evolved in the six years it’s been located in Highlands Ranch. In that time, Michelle Naherny, owner and baker, has seen her customer’s lives unfold and change as well.
“I’ve now done the engagement parties and then I’ve done the weddings,” Naherny said as she described tearing up when meeting a client’s new infant. “Now I’m doing the first babies and second babies and their birthday parties.”
In 2016, Honey B’s Macarons opened a small retail store near the intersection of South Broadway and Springer Drive. That was the first notable change for the business which has specialized in macarons since it began filling orders for corporate events in 2014.
Elegant sandwich cookies, macarons consist of flavored filling between two light, chewy meringue shells. Made with almond flour, egg whites and sugar, Honey B’s macarons come in dozens of flavors and are gluten-free.
Naherny uses the French method for making macarons which can be tricky this far above sea level, she said. In 2013, she became “obsessed” with the challenge that macarons presented and spent months perfecting her recipe and technique. She eventually decided to channel that zeal into a business.
But offering macarons in a retail setting was not the only change Honey B’s Macarons underwent. The business transformed in other ways, too.
Honey B’s introduced alcohol-infused macarons in 2019, Naherny said, and they’ve been a big hit.
“I have a hard time keeping them in stock,” she said of the cocktail-inspired confections which are pierced with liquor-filled pipettes.
The Grasshopper, for example, is a peppermint filled macaron dipped in dark chocolate and served with creme de menthe. It’s reminiscent of a Thin Mint Girl Scout cookie, Naherny said. But with a grown-up punch. For Mardi Gras, Honey B’s created a birthday cake flavored macaron spiked with rye whiskey and decorated with gold, green and purple sprinkles. They call it the Sazerac.
Exclusively for the over-21 crowd, these treats must be picked up in the store so Honey B’s can check IDs. Clients tend to order them for parties and other celebrations, Naherny said.
“It’s a novelty,” she said.
In addition to the infused macarons, regular visitors to the store noticed something else in the display case that year: less color.
Previously, Honey B’s macarons came in a rainbow of colors which was achieved by adding FDA-approved food color to their meringue batter. But in late 2019, the business shifted to uncolored shells with a swipe of natural food coloring painted on the top of the cookie.
Fewer chemicals in the macarons is healthier, Naherny said. Plus there is less waste when all macarons have the same shells and the bakery isn’t jumping from one batch of colored batter to another.
Honey B’s began using an extruder at this time as well. It’s a machine that pipes the meringue batter into perfect disks. Before that everything was piped by hand. The extruder is easier on everyone’s wrists and easier on the environment, Naherny said. They’ve sent significantly fewer disposable piping bags to the landfill since it was purchased.
The business still does colored shells upon request, but Naherny is happy with the switch to uncolored shells. She said it allows the macarons’ texture and the flavor of the fillings to take center stage.
Some customers expressed disappointment about the color change, but they ultimately supported it, said Naherny.
“I knew that if I moved to it and explained it to people properly, that they would understand and honor it,” she said. “And they have. They’ve come out in full force.”
Naherny, who loves her “amazing” clients, takes pleasure in seeing her business mature right alongside them.