Macaron or French macaroon is a small round cookie.
It is composed of a soft filling, such as ganache or buttercream, sandwiched between two delicate shells made from egg whites, ground almonds, sugar, often other flavorings and food coloring.
The standard size for a macaron shell is roughly 3 to 5 cm (1.2 to 2 in) in diameter and 0.75 to 1 cm (0.3 to 0.8 in) in height.
There is some variation in whether the term macaron or macaroon is used, and the related coconut macaroon is often confused with the macaron.
Colorful, pillowy, and delicately flavored, macarons are one of the most popular cookies in the world.
The name ‘Macaroon’ comes from the Italian word maccarone which means ‘paste.’
Macarons have been produced in the Venetian monasteries since the 8th century AD.
During the Renaissance, French queen Catherine de’ Medici’s Italian pastry chefs made them when she brought them with her to France in 1533 upon marrying Henry II of France.
According to Larousse Gastronomique the macaron was created in 1791 in a convent near Cormery.
In 1792, macarons began to gain fame when two Carmelite nuns, seeking asylum in Nancy during the French Revolution, baked and sold the macaron cookies in order to pay for their housing. These nuns became known as the “Macaron Sisters”. In these early stages, macarons were served without special flavors or fillings.
It was not until the 1930s that macarons began to be served two-by-two with the addition of jams, liqueurs, and spices.
Pierre Desfontaines, of the French pâtisserie Ladurée, has sometimes been credited with its creation in the early part of the 20th century, but another baker, Claude Gerbet, also claims to have invented it.
French macaron bakeries became trendy in North America in the 2010s.
There are two main methods for making a macaron – the “French” method and the “Italian” method.
In the French method, egg whites are whisked until stiff-peaked meringue forms. From there, sifted, ground almonds and powdered sugar are folded in slowly until the desired consistency is reached. This process of knocking out air and folding is called macaronage.
The Italian method involves whisking the egg whites with a hot sugar syrup to form a meringue. Sifted almonds and icing sugar are also mixed with raw egg whites to form a paste. The meringue and almond paste are mixed together to form the macaron mixture. This method is often deemed more structurally sound yet also sweeter and also requires a candy thermometer for the sugar syrup.
Macaroons Haute Couture at $7,414 are the most expensive cookies in the world. The iconic Parisian pastry chef Pierre Hermé, offers clients a luxurious choice of ingredients, including fine balsamic vinegar, fleur de sel, red grape, and rare peanut butter among others. Not all of the macaroons on offer are crazy expensive, but depending upon the flavours selected, once could easily end up paying as much as $7,000 for a box of bespoke macaroons.
The city of Montmorillon is well known for its macarons and has a museum dedicated to them. The Maison Rannou-Métivier is the oldest macaron bakery in Montmorillon, dating back to 1920. The traditional recipe for Montmorillon macarons has remained unchanged for over 150 years.
In Paris, the Ladurée chain of pastry shops has been known for its macarons for about 150 years.
March 20th is National Macaron Day, the biggest macaron event of the year!
The makaron is featured in Japanese fashion through cell phone accessories, stickers, and cosmetics aimed towards women.