Nine-year-old Nora Evans is a baker. Her specialty? French macarons (correct spelling). These tiny, delicate, sandwich-like cookies shouldn’t be confused with other macaroon cookies. Both confections originate in the word ammaccare, an Italian word meaning “to crush”—but they are very different desserts. French macarons are about the size of an Oreo cookie and are sandwiched together with jam, ganache, or a creamy filling.
“Nora started helping in the kitchen when she was about four years old,” says her mother, Kirstynn Evans. When Nora was six, she saw TV’s Cupcake Wars and began making cupcakes. Her congregation, Goodyear Stake’s Dreaming Summit Ward, held their own version of a cupcake war soon after.
She liked making cupcakes but was open to a new challenge when on a trip to California, her mother saw and purchased some French macarons and took them home.
Though French macarons are a specialty and can be quite expensive and difficult to make, that didn’t stop the young baker. Some specific tools were needed as were some uncommon ingredients not usually found in the pantry, like almond flour. But with delectable filling flavors including chocolate, lemon, butter crème and lemon curd, the tricky treats are worth the extra effort.
“The hardest thing I had to learn was whipping them correctly,” says Nora, “because they have to be whipped exactly thirty times by hand so they come off the spoon right. Whipping them with a mixer ruins them.”
Measurements must be precise for the lightweight cookies to turn out properly. It took the mother-daughter team about a year and a half to perfect their recipe.
Nora’s summer plans include holding a Macaron Monday. “I’ll bake the macarons on Sunday night and fill them Monday morning in time to have them ready for my preorders,” Nora says. She sells by the dozen.
She often bakes them to give as gifts rather than buying or making a present. While she enjoys giving them as gifts, she also has a following of repeat customers who buy from her.
Her cookies often match the seasons or a special event. She recently made green macarons with a butter crème filling for the cast and crew of The Wizard of Oz, a local ballet in which she performed.
While Nora does do some traditional cooking, including her favorite chili and baked potato fries, she still prefers baking. She wants to become a contestant on Fox’s Master Chef, Jr. with Gordon Ramsey and is working toward that. Her biggest fans are her brothers, Smith and Miles, her father Joel, and her mother.