Food: Preston Hollow’s pastry ace Kristen Massad

(Photo by Kathy Tran)
(Photo by Kathy Tran)

Kristen Massad specializes in all things sweet

Preston Hollow’s Kristen Massad might deserve credit for bringing the macaron craze to Dallas when she opened Tart Bakery on Lovers Lane in 2004.

The quaint shop, with vibrant green walls and an array of French-inspired desserts, quickly earned neighbors’ admiration before gourmet cupcakes and macarons were a common delight.

“No one knew what French macarons were,” Massad says. “They’d ask, ‘Is that a hamburger? Are those colorful hamburgers?’ ”

Thanks to Massad’s focus on quality ingredients and classic flavors, Tart quickly grew into a neighborhood hotspot. The long hours were exhausting, especially while raising young children, so Massad sold the bakery in 2013. But her sweet life wouldn’t end there.

Joy + Oliver sea salt caramels (Photo by Kathy Tran)
Joy + Oliver sea salt caramels (Photo by Kathy Tran)
Pecan pie French toast (Photo by Kathy Tran)
Pecan pie French toast (Photo by Kathy Tran)

The mother of three now devotes her time to developing recipes for restaurants, styling food products and blogging, all while launching Joy + Oliver. The small batch confection company sells homemade caramels, flavors such as sea salt, chocolate swirl, mocha swirl, marshmallow swirl and peppermint, on Etsy.

“I knew I could do what I’m doing now and open something later,” she says.

Massad perfected her craft at the French Culinary Institute in New York City before returning to Dallas’ rising restaurant scene. A stint at The Mansion Restaurant’s pastry department solidified her interest in the sweet side of the business.

“It’s definitely a science,” she says. “It’s more exact.”

That dedication to precision may be genetic, because even her 5- and 7-year-old daughters have a knack for baking. The oldest sibling already mastered banana bread and cinnamon sugar doughnuts, and breakfast items happen to be Massad’s favorites.

“I love desserts,” she laughs. “When am I going to get sick of it? I want to know.”

Visit to make this pecan pie French toast.
For more of Massad’s recipes, visit

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