If you follow me on Instagram, you probably know that I am quite
obsessed with fond of macarons. I have tried several local places that sell them, and have my favorite places ranked in best to OK order, although I’ve never actually made that public, it’s just in my head. I also have a favorite flavor: it’s Cassis, or blackcurrant. But on this post, I am not going to talk about how to make macarons, or even where to get macarons; I’m going to briefly talk about the difference between macarons and macaroons, and how so many people get it wrong.
Macarons (mah-ka-ROHNS) are an almond and egg white based French cookie. They are made up of two individual cookies held together by a filling, this filling can be buttercream, ganache, jams, etc. The cookies are crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside. They come in an array of colors and flavors, and are quite expensive.
Macaroons (mah-ka-ROONS), on the other hand, are a coconut and egg white based American cookies. The egg whites is where the similarities end. Macaroons are made with flaked coconut and spoon-dropped onto baking sheets. They are often, but not always, drizzled with chocolate. They are usually served as single cookies, and are very rustic-looking. These cookies have a completely different name in French.
Macarons have been around for quite some time, but they have recently come into their fame in the US. Despite this, it is surprising how often people get the name wrong. As a matter of fact, while doing research for this post, I was taken aback by the number of cookbook authors and other big names in the food industry who got the name wrong in print. I mean, BIG names, both in American and British cookery. They are not only called macaroons by them, but also referred to as almond macaroons, French macaroons, and some other names. Until this observation, I was not entirely sure I would actually write the post, but then I knew I had to do it. The problem is not that the cookie has recently changed it’s name, it’s always been macaron, it’s just that they are mislabeled because of the close resemblance in name to the American cookie. This confusion is not the sole domain of big name chefs either, I hear people referring to macarons as macaroons often. I don’t normally correct them because, well, it’s not my place, but with this post I hope to bring some awareness, at least to the three cats who read this blog, that there is a difference, or more like, they are completely different cookies, and the names are not interchangeable.
If you search for “macaroons” on Google Image search, most of the top hits are actually pictures of macarons. It is difficult to enact a paradigm shift when the roots run so deep, but a Francophile can dream