French macaroons a top-seller at Whisky Business bakery – The Daily Gazette

Restaurant News

ROTTERDAM — Brianne Larsen opened the doors of her petite bakery without a grand ribbon cutting. Instead, the Rotterdam native and her dad just waited for customers to come drool over their macaroons. 

“Some people come in and they pronounce ‘macaroon’ — they really accent the ‘R’,” said Larsen, 30, owner of Whisky Business Bakery. “But I never caught on to that.” 

While she can’t speak a word of French, she’s been in love with baking since she won a fourth-grade science competition with a chocolate chip cookie project. 

The little shop on Curry Road, which opened in February, is just big enough to house both a kitchen and a shopfront where Larsen’s father, Bruce, tends the register. 

“We’ve had a lot of local customers come in, a lot of people with love for the French macaroon. They’re amazed it’s in Rotterdam now,” said Larsen.

She takes orders and whips them up in the back, a kitchen so clean it could only be inhabited by a professionally trained chef. 

“I stayed local for community college and learned the fundamentals of cooking as a whole,” said Larsen, a SUNY Schenectady grad. “But it just wasn’t enough. I had to do pastries, that’s what I wanted to do.”

So she spent two years at the Culinary Institute of America, which she calls a Disneyland for adults, getting a degree in baking and pastries. 

Working at a couple local bakeries and restaurants for scant wages only lasted so long before Larsen took the plunge into starting a small business.

“While I was working part time up in Saratoga I was creating my business on the side; I founded my LLCs, did all that paperwork stuff, and after that it was just finding the space. It all happened so quick, really, I’m still in awe of it.”

In a past life, 1051 Curry Road was Hair of the Dog, a pet groomer. After five months of construction, it’s now one of the few spots around the Capital Region that makes French baked treats.

In the kitchen, Larsen whips up French classics such as meringues, macaroons, and crème brûlée. She also makes staples like brownies, cookies, cakes to order, and even a signature jarred caramel with Woodford Reserve whiskey. 

Despite being open for only a month, Larsen said she’s already used to running out of popular baked goods like the 200 to 400 macaroons she bakes every day. 

The name “Whisky Business Bakery” is a pun on the baking tool called a whisk, which Larsen uses to whip up her signature whiskey caramel.

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