Macaroons 101

Macaroon vs. Macaron: Easy to mix up

It’s not often that people are confused by cookies. And why would they be? Who cares if the confection in question is an oatmeal raisin cookie or chocolate chip cookie, they’re both delicious! But when it comes to Macaroons, it’s easy to be stumped. So we’re here to clear up the confusion once and for all—macaroons are totally different from macarons.

Twin treats, separated at birth

To understand the difference, we have to go back to the beginning – in Italy around the 16th century. According to the most preeminent dessert historians (dream job!), the two cookies evolved from a sweet that used crushed almonds instead of flour. It’s here that we find the base of the mix-up, as both macaron and macaroon are derived from the Italian word ammaccare which means, “to crush”. Originally, the two cookies even shared common ingredients and prep work – egg whites, sugar and ground almonds – but over time they grew apart.

Macarons found a home with nuns in France, where they started using an almond flour to make the sandwich-shaped, meringue-based cookies we recognize today. Macaroons on the other hand, became an immensely popular during Passover when the crushed almonds were swapped for shredded coconut – making it the perfect unleavened sweet.

Two Super Creative Cookies

Recently, the French macaron has been getting quite a bit of attention and fanfare for their colorful variety. But don’t fall into the trap of thinking that macaroons aren’t as creative as macarons. That’s simply not true. While the golden, moist foundation of the macaroon never really changes, the amount of flavors and toppings available is simply jaw dropping. Most often, they come dipped or drizzled in decadent chocolate. But there are also red velvet macaroons, orange zest macaroons, carrot cake macaroons, and even key lime pie macaroons! With so many different flavors and toppings, the creativity of macaroons easily rival the variety of the oh-so-popular macaron. And, because macaroons don’t require the baking expertise that a macaron demands, they’re so much easier to experiment with and enjoy!

So the next time you’re considering indulging your sweet tooth, remember to keep an eye out for that extra “o” that separates these two treats. And if you’re not in the baking mood, you can always enjoy delicious premade macaroons, like some red velvet ones from Manischewitz.


Passover Shopping List

  • Candles
  • Matzo
  • Matzo meal and farfel
  • Grape juice and/or wine (enough for 4 glasses per person)
  • Gefilte fish
  • Horseradish
  • Parsley or lettuce
  • Eggs
  • Charoset ingredients (such as Apples, Walnuts and Cinnamon)
  • A Shankbone
  • Kosher salt
  • Salad and salad dressing
  • Ingredients for first course, such as Matzo ball soup
  • Ingredients for main course
  • Ingredients for side dishes
  • Ingredients for dessert (such as cake meal or potato starch)
  • Condiments
  • Cooking spray
  • Tea and coffee
  • Flowers for centerpiece
  • A small Afikoman gift (the gift for finding the hidden Matzo)