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Sunday, April 3, 2011

Macaroon? Macaron? Two Distinctly Different Cookies

So, what's the difference between a macaroon and a macaron? For starters, more than an "o."

Macaroon is pronounced Mac-ah-roon

Macaroon ↑

This is a coconut macaroon. Note the two "o's" in the spelling. According to the macaroon page on Wikipedia it is directly related to the Scottish macaroon.

It looks like a little, toasted haystack. The shredded coconut is typically, but not always, bound together by egg whites. Macaroons are sweet. I can't eat a whole macaroon in one sitting. I eat them bit by bit over the course of an afternoon or day so I can savor each bite.

Did you know macaroons are often associated with the Jewish holiday of Passover because they contain no leavening?

I have never made them from scratch but from most accounts I've heard and read, if you begin with and follow a good recipe, they aren't overly complicated to make.

Macaron is pronounced Mac-ah-ron in English

Macarons ↑

And these are macarons spelled with one "o." They are made predominately with egg whites, sugar and powdered or ground nuts. According to the macaron page on Wikipedia, they are believed to be of Italian origin. But today they are universally known as a French cookie.

The French macaron consists of two, smooth, dome shaped meringue type cookies that are sandwiched together with buttercream, fruit gel, jam, caramel or chocolate ganache. Each cookie should have a small frill that grows out from the base of each cookie as it bakes called "feet." The fillings are sweet but the cookie itself, not overly so.

To learn to bake them at home is a daunting task. Achieving the proper light and slightly chewy consistency for the interior of the cookie, the thin, smooth, fragile shell of the exterior, the frilled feat and the correct flavor can be a challenge.

Inside a Cherry Coconut Macaroon by Edna's Success

Edna's macaroons are both gluten and dairy free and come in a multitude of flavors incuding coconut, cherry coconut, chocolate coconut, apricot coconut and chocolate chip coconut.

Inside a Caramel Macaron by Paulette

If you live in the Bay Area you can go to Paulette or go to Miette and try the chocolate orange, the chocolate cookie/chocolate filled and hazelnut cookie/chocolate filled macarons. La Boulange Bakery is another one of my favorite San Francisco macaron stops. I love their cherry macarons!

So have a macaroon, then have a macaron. If there are no patisseries where you live you can order Paulette macarons by mail!


  1. the very best MACARONS are those from MIETTE at the ferry building ... no comparison to any other place. THE VERY BEST!

  2. This reminds me when I went to the Christmas markets here in U.K and saw a sign for Macaroons and thought they were 'Macarons' which I've always wanted to try but never knew they were two totally different things! Mmmm macarons look more delicious - meringue goodness!

  3. Mmmmmm Duncan Miette is the first place I ever had a Macaron from, Armando brought some home to me when we were roomies. They have remained one of my favorites for years now!

    Aw that would be confusing Mumuji. You will have to try some of San Francisco's French Macarons when you are here on your trip!

  4. wow, thank you for this oh so helpful info. I have always been confused by this-when I think I'm getting a macaroon, sometimes its a macaron! They looked like mini cheeseburgers to me!

  5. I'm gluten intolerant and I never knew they were g-free!!! THANKS!

  6. It's funny how one little letter can really change things up!


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