Now some of you may not be satisfied with the quick description above, for those of you I have researched some facts here…
Outside of France, macarons are frequently mistaken for the coconut flavored cookie, the macaroon. Further complicating the matter, many sources offer the word “macaroon” as an alternative English translation of the French word “macaron”.
Whether one prefers the French spelling, or the alternative English spelling, the French macaron is worlds apart from the coconut macaroon. The French macaron is refined and delicate, available in an endless variety of flavors, ranging from the standard chocolate to exotic combinations of tropical fruits, floral essences, and spices. The macaron also relies on a strict techniques of making a meringue and macronage to achieve its texture and shape.
The French macaron also has a distinct shape, and incorporates a filling to sandwich two cookies together. The macaron is certainly the more luxurious and elegant of the two cookies, and allows for the baker to use creativity in its flavor and color composition.
Macaroons can vary widely from recipe to recipe, but compared to the macaron, are fairly uncomplicated.
Some recipes call for stirring sugar and desiccated coconut into a meringue base then baking, while others heat sugar and egg whites to create a thin, Swiss-style meringue to bind the coconut together. Flour may also be called for in some macroon recipes, resulting in a more cake-like texture to the finished product.
These macaroons are mostly made of sugar and desiccated coconut, and as a result, can be sickeningly sweet. Their high sugar content causes them to caramelize and crisp on the outside, giving them the appearance of little haystacks. Because many macaroons do not contain flour, they are appropriate to consume during Passover, and have become as staple at many celebrations.
If you have had some experience with macarons then no doubt you know why! They are extremely temperamental. The Macaron Master is a step-by-step illustrated guide that presents the three most critical variables that virtually guarantee macaron success. Click here to learn more!