Macaroon vs Macaron

six colorful macarons and two coconut macaroons

The difference between macarons and macaroons, besides one extra vowel, is obvious when you see these two cookies side by side. A macaron is a colorful, delicate sandwich cookie, and a macaroon is a mound of sweet, shredded coconut. No matter how different they are, the similar spelling of these two confections has led to confusion over which cookie is which. Whether you're a home baker or a professional pastry chef, you'll benefit from being able to identify these two cookies correctly.

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Click below to learn more about the difference between macarons and macaroons:

Difference Between Macaron and Macaroon

Macarons and macaroons are different in their appearance, taste, and texture. A macaron is a meringue-based sandwich cookie that is tinted with food coloring. A macaroon is a drop cookie made with shredded coconut. The preparation for these two cookies is also very different. Macarons require multiple steps and painstaking precision, while a batch of coconut macaroons is very easy to prepare.

What Is a Macaron?

assortment of macaroons on a mint green background

Macarons are small, perfectly round sandwich cookies available in a wide range of flavors and colors. They're commonly featured in food photography or creative displays because of their attractive colors, which range from pretty pastel pinks to vibrant blues. Macarons are a beloved dessert in France, and they're often called French macarons to differentiate them from coconut macaroons.

  • French Macaron Ingredients - Almond flour, egg whites, sugar, cream of tartar, food coloring, filling
  • French Macaron Appearance - Two round wafers with filling in between
  • French Macaron Taste - Lightly sweet, chewy wafers; fruity, chocolatey, or creamy filling
  • French Macaron Pronunciation - Macaron is pronounced mack-a-ROHN

What Do Macarons Taste Like?

Macarons are made in almost any flavor you can imagine, from delicate rose or lavender to rich hazelnut or salted caramel. Two chewy meringue-based wafers sandwich a filling of buttercream, jam, or ganache. The wafers are light, delicate, and not overly sweet, which complements the modest amount of filling inside.

How to Make Macarons

close up view of stacked macarons

Making these delicate cookies is considered a practiced skill and requires several steps. If one step is not performed correctly, the macarons won't be picture perfect. A kitchen scale should be used to ensure that all macaron ingredients are measured accurately. These are a few of the key steps that produce the signature macaron:

  • Macaronage - Macaronage is the French technique of folding meringue and almond paste. To achieve the perfect macaron, the mixture must be folded until ribbons of batter follow the spoon.
  • Piping - French macarons are known for being identical in size and having a perfectly round shape. To achieve this, the batter must be piped carefully. Experienced bakers may be able to pipe out macaron batter freehand, but using a parchment paper template will help you achieve perfect circles. Use a pastry bag to pipe directly into the center of the template circle, with gentle pressure, until the mound of batter fills the circle.
  • Filling - Make sure that the meringue wafers are completely cool before adding fillings. Experts recommend sticking to ganache because it won't melt like buttercream. Add a thin layer, and don't overfill the cookies.
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What Are Macaroons?

three golden macaroons with a bowl and spoonful of shredded coconut

Macaroons are small mounds of shredded coconut, sometimes called haystacks. Unlike macarons, these classic cookies are easy to make in a short amount of time. The coconut macaroon is considered plain and humble when compared to the picture-perfect macaron. However, it is believed that macaroons developed as an offshoot of the macaron recipe when coconut became a popular import item in the 1800s.

  • Coconut Macaroon Ingredients - Shredded or flaked coconut, sweetened condensed milk, egg whites, vanilla extract
  • Coconut Macaroon Appearance - Mound of shredded coconut
  • Coconut Macaroon Taste - Very sweet coconut flavor
  • Coconut Macaroon Pronunciation - Macaroon is pronounced mack-a-ROON

What Do Macaroons Taste Like?

Coconut macaroons have a rich, buttery coconut flavor and a chewy texture. They are very sweet and are often dipped in chocolate. Sometimes macaroons are colored pink, red, or green for holidays, but they do not contain other flavors.

How to Make Macaroons

a batch of coconut macaroons on a cooling rack

Coconut macaroons can be made in less than 30 minutes. The list of macaroon ingredients is very short, and once mixed, the dough is dropped by the spoonful onto a baking sheet. No special steps are required and uniformity is not important. Each macaroon will form an uneven mound that may look lumpy but will be full of coconut flavor. Check out our recipe for Chocolate Dipped Macaroons.

Macaroons can be made in two different ways. One version of the macaroon recipe includes flour, and the other popular recipe contains sweetened condensed milk. Both ingredients work as binders for the coconut but produce different textures.

  • Sweetened condensed milk - The addition of sweetened condensed milk in the recipe produces a softer, richer cookie.
  • Flour - Using flour in a macaroon recipe creates a dense cookie with a crumbly texture.

No matter which cookie is your favorite, both macarons and macaroons are delicious in their own way. Macarons are camera-ready thanks to their attractive colors and even sizing, but what macaroons lack in appearance, they make up for in taste.

Posted in: Bakeries | By Michale Ferguson
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