The macaron and macaroon are not the same confection, but they are European cousins. According to the International Culinary Center's director of pastry operations, Chef Jansen Chan, bakers from France and Italy influenced the development of both cookies.
Macarons and macaroons each have three primary ingredients, and they share two of them: sugar and egg whites. While macaroons are made with shredded coconut, the third key ingredient for macarons is almond flour.
What's a macaron?
Sometimes called macarons Gerbet or Parisian macarons, this dessert is baked to create a cookie with a moist interior and a thin shell. Typically buttercream, ganache, or jam is sandwiched between two of these cookies to result in the finished product. To create different varieties, food coloring is included in the shells and the filling is changed. Macaron is pronounced “mack-a-ROHN.”
What's a macaroon?
This cookie – which, again, features coconut rather than almond flour – is baked until it has a chewy interior and a golden-brown exterior. This cookie, which is frequently dipped in chocolate, is mounded. Macaroon is pronounced “mack-a-ROON.”
To make matters more confusing...
One of the core points in remembering the differences between the macaron and macaroon is almond flour vs. coconut. However, that didn't always used to be the case. While coconut is now the standard way that macaroons are made in the United States, originally, "macaroons were more likely to be made with almond paste instead of coconut," noted Chan.
Delicacy vs. hardiness
Another major difference between the macaron and macaroon is in level of delicacy. A well-made macaroon does not take a huge amount of practice. On the other hand, it is extremely challenging to do justice to the creation of the macaron without considerable expertise at the technique, per Eat By Date.
Macaroons can be kept unrefrigerated for a week or more if they are covered. They have a longer shelf-life.
Macarons are incredibly delicate as confections go. Many bakers recommend eating them within the first 24 hours after they have been prepared. They will last a few months in the freezer but only a few days in the fridge. While the macaron does not stay as well, Eat By Date stresses that "[t]he texture and taste of these delicate cookies make the preparation and storage issues easily forgotten."
Choose delicacy with perfectly crafted macarons
Are you in search of an elegant, handmade dessert that is gluten-free and sure to impress? "All our guests raved about this special treat," wrote Traci in her review of Nikkolette's Macarons. Explore our options.