Macarons sure have had their time in the spotlight, haven’t they? Those precious cookies with their little domes drenched in Technicolor.
But we mustn’t forget the Macaroon. Often woefully confused for the Macaron (in name, not appearance), the Macaroon is just as deserving of star treatment. The laidback, oh-so-approachable cousin of the Macaron is made with just a few simple ingredients (sugar, vanilla, egg whites and coconut), but they sometimes get dressed up with a bit of cocoa powder or take a dip in some chocolate.
Macarons and Macaroons do have a shared history. Food historians believe they both got their start in Europe. Some say that Macarons gained fame when two Benedictine nuns, trying to climb out of hard times, began selling Macarons to pay the bills and the country fell in love. It wasn’t long before there were street vendors selling the cookies on every street corner in Paris. In 1930, Pierre Desfontaines, relative of the famous Louis Ernest Ladurée, had the bright idea to take two Macaron cookies and sandwich them with a bit of chocolate ganache, sealing the fate of the modern day Macaron and launching Ladurée’s rise to fame.
There are many stories about when coconut was folded into the mix to make the Macaroon, but most believe that European Jews adapted the Macaron recipe to make a perfect Passover treat. Flour and almond paste were omitted and sweet, shredded coconut was added. Similar recipes can also be found in Scottish, Dominican, Indian, Spanish, Turkish, and Irish cultures.
While we enjoy both cookies, the Macaroon has our heart. Crisp on the outside, chewy in the center, and delightfully sweet, Macaroons are reminiscent of the cookies our moms used to make. They are a rustic homage to childhood.
Our four-packs of Macaroons, in chocolate or vanilla, are the perfect little something to tuck into a Christmas stocking. Find them at any of our cafés!