Cocoa Dolce Artisan Chocolates expanding into its first nonchocolate line: macarons

Pastry chef Kelly Peterson prepares a pan of macarons for baking.

WICHITA — If Beth Tully’s Cocoa Dolce Artisan Chocolates was in Europe instead of Kansas, she likely would already be selling macarons.

Tully calls the French pastry a “classic European chocolatier product,” and she’s going to add it to her Bradley Fair store beginning Wednesday.

“I’m always trying to figure out what we can do in that space to make it more interesting,” Tully says.

It’s her first foray into a nonchocolate offering.

“They’re really different than most pastries,” Tully says.

She’s hired pastry chef Kelly Peterson, who used to have Velvet Cream Bakery, to help her create the macarons.

“I’m mainly the taster,” Tully says.

Peterson says macarons, which are pronounced with a long ‘o,’ have a silent “s” and are not to be confused with macaroons, are particularly tricky to make.

She says everything is mixed by hand, and a chef must be careful not to mix the meringue too long or hold the pastry bag at the wrong angle or the macarons don’t turn out correctly. The oven temperature and the amount of time the pastries sit before going into the oven must be exact as well.

Tully says she’s been seeing the pastries at specialty food shows for several years and been intrigued.

“I said, ‘Oh, my god, I’ll have to do these.’”

Then she heard how difficult they are to make.

“It’s like, ‘Bring it on, and let’s try it and see.’”

She says she likes a challenge.

“I’m a bit of an overachiever sometimes.”

Cocoa Dolce Artisan Chocolates owner Beth Tully samples one of her new macarons.

Cocoa Dolce macarons will be filled only with ganache, which Tully says separates hers from other ones.

Initially, because of the short shelf life of macarons, Tully says she won’t sell them online. She and Peterson are still testing storage and freezing.

“We’re still tweaking,” Tully says. “We’re always in a constant state of change.”

Potentially, they’ll offer as many as 30 flavors, but initially they’ll have six.

“I’m fascinated by these,” Tully says. “They’re kind of like our chocolates, which I view as children sometimes.”

So what’s Tully likely to do for her next trick?

“Clone me,” Peterson says.

“I’d like to have world domination,” Tully says.

She says she’ll settle for the United States.

“I’m a realist.”