Is it a Macaroon or a Macaron?

Imagine walking into a pastry shop and becoming overwhelmed with all the delectable looking treats and enticing smells. You wander over to the cakes and cookies and your mouth starts to water, then you gaze upon the eclairs and you can barely hold yourself back. Finally, you come across something that you just cannot pass up: macaroons.

The light, coconut flavored treats that satisfy your sweet tooth, but don’t leave you with a bellyache. After asking the kind lady for a macaroon, she grabs a box, reaches her hand into the glass case and pulls out a treat that looks similar to a macaroon, but is shaped more circular, like a tiny sandwich. When you try to correct yourself by restating that you wanted a macaroon, she insists that a macaroon is sitting in the box. What is the treat inside of the box and what caused this miscommunication?

The Italian word maccherone meaning “fine paste” has caused much confusion in the pastry world, as two similar desserts use maccherone as the root of their name. Most people do not understand the difference in pronunciation of these two words; they are not both pronounced like “macaroon.” Macarons are French, and anyone who has studied the French language knows that the French do not have the “ooh” sound in their language, but rather an “aw” sound, as in the word “gone.” Therefore, macaron is pronounced macar-AWN.

Macarons and macaroons are so commonly mixed up not only because of their similar names, but also because they both use meringue as the base. In macarons, the two outside layers are meringue based, while the creamy filling varies in flavor. Macaroons are fully meringue based and have coconut throughout, whereas macarons do not have coconut, unless, of course, they are coconut flavored.

If you are looking for a delicious macaroon, Freedom a la Cart has got you covered. The chocolate drizzled coconut goodies are a popular treat amongst customers, and have become a trademark dessert in the Freedom kitchen.  Pistacia Vera is the local home of the macaron, and may just get you hooked on the French pastry.

Now that you understand the difference between these two treats, tell your friends. Not only will they be impressed with your meringue-based pastry knowledge, but you will help to eliminate the confusion between the two desserts.