This could be one of the most important questions of the ages, right up there with “Who built Stonehenge?” and “What’s the purpose of decaf coffee?” While macaroons and macarons are both confectionery desserts with some similarities, there are some significant differences that we think you should know about.
What is a Macaron? What is a Macaroon?
Simply put, both macarons and macaroons are meringue-based sweet confections that are baked as small cookies or cakes. Macarons are generally smaller, lighter and less sweet than macaroons, and macarons are typically more colorful and delicate. Macaroons are generally of a lumpy, non-uniform shape, sweeter and more dense than macarons.
Macaron vs Macaroon: How Different Are They?
First, we’ll start with the basic differences between macarons vs macaroons, such as how to pronounce each treat followed by the ingredients, textures and consistencies. Then we’ll take a peek at how each confection is made.
- Macaron is pronounced “mac-uh-ron” with the “ron” part sounding like the word “gone”
- Macaroon is pronounced “mac-uh-roon” with the “roon” part sounding like the word “moon”
Ingredients, Texture, and Consistency
Macarons and macaroons share the same core ingredients of egg whites and sugar, but that’s where the similarities pretty much stop. The variety of shapes, textures, flavors, and consistency differs considerably between macarons vs macaroons.
First, let’s look at Macarons:
- Macarons are made of a meringue that includes almond flour made from finely ground blanched almonds
- Macarons consist of two sandwich-like halves that have smooth tops and slightly rough edges on the bottom of each half
- Macarons are typically filled with a delicious layer of jam, ganache, or buttercream
- Macarons are colorful and light, usually tinted with food coloring that matches the filling
- Macarons are light, fluffy, and mildly sweet with a delicate eggshell-like crust
Now, let’s look at Macaroons:
- Macaroons are made of a meringue mixed with shredded coconut or nuts
- Macaroons consist of a single “lump” that lacks a uniform shape
- Macaroons are sometimes flavored with lemon or honey, and may be glazed with chocolate, jam, or other toppings
- Macaroons are dense, course, very sweet, and larger than macarons
Macarons vs Macaroons: The Art of Confection
The primary reason behind why Macarons and Macaroons look and taste so differently is the method in which each is made. The task of making macarons vs macaroons is that macrons are more time consuming and require more craftsmanship, whereas macaroons are simple and easy to make.
- Macarons involve the process of “macaronage” whereby powdered sugar and finely ground almonds (almond flour) are slowly into a whisked egg-white meringue
- Macarons are painstakingly piped onto a flat surface until a thin skin forms and then baked to perfection
- The fillings used for macarons are made in a separate container and added between the two “sandwich” halves
- With macaroons, the ingredients are simply mixed together, then portioned out onto a flat surface in lumps, then baked to a desired consistency
- There are even some macaroon recipes that don’t require baking at all
In addition to the differences in the methods of making macarons vs macaroons, macarons are best enjoyed within one or two days after baking, whereas macaroons can be frozen for up to 3 months.
Where did Macarons and Macaroons Come From?
Macarons and Macaroons share a similar history in addition to some of their ingredients. It’s widely accepted that both have their origins in Italy and came to France in the 1500s by way of Catherine di Medici. It was supposedly sometime later that the differences between macarons and macaroons evolved, with many Italian Jews adopting macaroons during Passover as a flour-free treat, and the rise in the 1930s of the “sandwich” style macaron with the addition of jams and other fillings.
Macarons vs Macaroons: Let’s Review
It can be definitively said that, despite the similarity of ingredients and history, macarons and macaroons are markedly different confections. Macarons are lighter, less sweet, have more flavor variations, take more skill to make, and are more delicate than macaroons. Therefore it is very important to know to differentiate the two, especially if you desire the more delightful of the two treats… which, of course, are macarons.
Where Is The Best Place to Buy a Macaron?
Of course, we think the best place to buy macarons is at Le Macaron French Pastries. We encourage you to visit your local Le Macaron French Pastries®location, and if you aren’t fortunate enough to have a store in your area, you can order online.
Better yet, why not open your own Le Macaron French Pastries®franchise? You can see all of our current locations and find out more about franchising at our website.