Known more for their colors and decadent taste, French macarons aren’t often associated with graphic artistry. One emerging macaron shop in California is looking to change the perception of how these cookies can be designed.

Since 2014, Honey & Butter Macarons has been serving up gourmet macarons inside a stainless-steel Airstream trailer at The Lab Antimall in Costa Mesa. Macarons were a passion project for Leanne Pietrasinski (and her husband Pawel soon thereafter), which made the challenging work easier to enjoy. The couple mastered the difficult process, and that led them to opening their first retail store in Irvine at the Irvine Spectrum Center in 2016.

The shop has developed a reputation for its signature flavors such as Sea Salted Caramel, French Toast, Milk & Honey, Yuzu, Carrot Cake, and Taro, but it has made headlines amongst several major publications with its other standout idea: specialty creature macarons.

These distinctive macaron shells are shaped into assorted animal forms. They change quite regularly and come in a variety of themes. Many are based on pop culture phenomena, with Game of Thrones, Harry Potter, Stranger Things, Overwatch, Pokemon, and Sailor Moon being just a few represented over the past few years.

Leanne and Pawel came up with the idea because of their love of anime and video games.

“All of those things inspire us to do certain designs and certain flavors. We also get a lot of feedback from customers who ask us, ‘Hey this is a great show, why don’t you give it a try?’ and we say, ‘Sure, why not?’” Pawel says.

Honey & Butter has a team of artists that puts together the incredibly detailed macarons on a daily basis. Pawel says that there is an added layer of difficulty on top of the already-difficult process of creating French macarons.

“There is a certain aesthetic that is required for such designs and everyone needs to follow that. Everything has to be symmetric, everything has to be cute,” he says.

That hard work has allowed them to create stunning designs that have put them on the map for dessert enthusiasts both on the West Coast and around the United States. They are wowed not only by these designs but also by the taste that comes from the high-quality ingredients Honey & Butter uses.

With Instagram-ready products becoming a vital part of a bakery’s presence, Honey & Butter stands out. Their edible art has allowed them to amass well over 164,000 followers on Instagram. Bakeries that can provide a visual experience are ahead of the pack when it comes to satisfying customers, and Honey & Butter’s macarons have customers lining up for a sugary pop culture-inspired treat.