Ah, macarons. The little French cookies that have taken over the Instagrams of bloggers everywhere.
But why? Where did these cookies come from? What makes a macaron so delectable? How do you even say “macaron” anyway? Is it “macaron” or “macaroon?”
Never fear, Lala ladies. We have the low down on the year’s trendiest cookie.
Say it with me:
mah-kah-ROHN (or better yet: mack – uh – ron)
Wait, so it’s ‘macaron’? Not ‘macaroon’? What’s the diff?
Contrary to common belief, the word “macaroon” is not an alternative pronunciation of the French “macaron.” Macarons and macaroons are two completely different cookies with two different beginnings.
The macaron is a simple, meringue-based cookie that is made with almond flour, egg whites, granulated and powdered sugar. The cookie gained popularity among the French when two nuns baked and sold these meringue treats for some spare change. Near the beginning of the 20th century, the modern sandwich-looking macaron we all know and love was created when the cousin of Louis Ernest Laduree, the man behind the famous Parisian pastry shop, had the idea to put two meringue cookies together with a ganache filling in the middle.
Today, macarons are filled with buttercream, ganache or fruit curd, which give the cookie a “crunchy” exterior while still maintaining a weightless interior.
The macaroon, on the other hand, has a story all its own. This treat supposedly originated in Scotland and consists of three ingredients: egg whites, sugar, and coconut. The inclusion of coconut is key—take away the coconut and you no longer have a macaroon. Macaroons are often piped with a star-shaped tip, giving these cookies a look very distinct from macarons.
Macarons and macaroons: very similar names, but two very different cookies. What a difference an extra ‘o’ can make!
Where To Try
Because bloggers have been obsessing over macarons lately, it’s only natural to want to try the chewy meringue goodness for yourself.
Ladurée Soho: New York, New York
For any NY-based fashion and lifestyle blogger, Ladurée remains the reigning palace of all things macaron. Although there are Ladurée locations all throughout the city, the Soho-based shop boasts a stunning full-service restaurant and Parisian tearoom.
That’s right. You can spend the day shopping in Soho, then end with a macaron and a cup of tea in full French fashion.
European Delights: Lexington, Kentucky
Fellow contributor, Alexa Goins, swears by European Delights’ French pastry expertise. She describes the bakery’s macarons as “crunchy, moist and cute”—everything you could ever want in a macaron!
Pistacia Vera: Columbus, Ohio
Macaron lovers of the Midwest can head to this lovely pastry kitchen and café. Pistacia Vera specializes in re-creating decadent French treats but of course even they couldn’t resist adding some Ohio flair to their menu with the addition of the Buckeye macaron.
Lemonade: Los Angeles, California
As amazing as these bite-sized cookies are, the saddest part about macarons is that they’re gone in two chomps. LA’s Lemonade comes to the rescue by offering macarons the size of hockey pucks.