Macaroons vs Macarons: What’s the Difference
Despite being commonly confused with one another, macaroons and macarons are actually two very different types of biscuits. Starting from their pronunciation to the way they are made, these biscuits are unlike one another in many ways. So, if you really wish to learn the difference between macaroons and macarons, read along!
What is a Macaroon?
Starting off with the basics, a macaroon (pronounced as mack-ah-ROON) is a cookie that is coconut-based. This delicious cookie is rather dense and usually does not have any particular shape other than being baked in the form of dollops.
It is said that a macaroon is basically an American version of the French macaron. Coconut, imported from India during the 1800s, was a popular item which bakers used to alter the original macaron recipe. This eventually led to the creation of what we know today as macaroons.
What are Macaroons Made of?
A typical macaroon would be made of the following ingredients:
Note that a macaroon, besides being gluten-free, does not incorporate chemical leavening agents such as baking powder or baking soda in its recipe. Instead of whipped egg whites are used to help this drop cookie rise.
In a large-sized mixing bowl, the coconut, condensed milk, and vanilla are mixed together. Next, using either a stand or a hand mixer, the egg whites and salt are beaten together till the consistency becomes stiff. Then the coconut mixture is added to the beaten egg whites and stirred in order to make a batter.
Then on a baking sheet (that has been lined with parchment paper), spoonfuls of the batter are placed and baked in the oven.
What are Macarons?
Macarons (pronounced as mack-ah-ROHN) are meringue-based French sandwich cookies that are extremely popular food items in most social events. This light and airy cookie usually has a delicious filling that can be anything from ganache to jam. However, the tasty treats are perhaps more famous due to their range of bright colors and the variety of flavors they offer. Also, it takes a huge amount of skill and perseverance in order to get these cookies done.
What are macarons made of?
The ingredients needed to make French macarons are:
- Almond flour
- Powdered Sugar
- Granulated sugar
- Egg whites
- Vanilla extract
Food coloring is typically used to get the vibrant colors for these sandwich cookies. The ingredients for the filling will differ depending on what you are going with.
French macarons are also free of gluten and baking powder or baking soda. However, one huge similarity between macaroons and macarons is that both their recipes call for whipped egg whites.
At first, the powdered sugar (confectioner’s sugar) is combined with the almond flour. In a separate bowl, the egg whites are beaten to stiffness to which the granulated sugar is added and beaten once more until the mixture turns shiny. This is also the part where the additional flavors and colors are added for the macarons.
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Next, a batter is created using both the mixes which is then piped into circles onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. The cookies are then baked until they are ready.
Macaroons vs. Macarons
- The differences
If we were to judge the two cookies by their looks, we would definitely notice they appear nothing alike. While macaroons are golden-brown dollops of cookies, macarons are considered more sophisticated and elegant due to their meticulous round shapes. At times, however, macaroons are shaped into cubes and then baked. And as we mentioned before, macarons are usually brightly colored which further distinguishes them from coconut macaroons.
The cookies themselves vary in texture and consistency since macaroons are generally of a dense and thick nature with the shredded coconut giving a grainy texture. Macarons, on the other hand, are light and airy biscuits which appear to be very different from macaroons. The insides of the cookie are a bit chewy while the exterior is crispy.
However, the biggest difference between the biscuits would definitely be their taste. As we know, macaroons are typically made of coconuts which is the key ingredient for flavor in the cookies. There is also a touch of vanilla to enhance the natural flavors of the cookie. At times, they are even dipped in chocolate to increase their appeal.
Macarons, however, can be of a range of flavors which may be chocolate, salted caramel, cinnamon or pistachio. There are more flavors macarons can be made of than those we listed with jam, ganache or cream as filling.
Other than this, if we take a look at the ingredients list and how the cookies are made, we will notice that macarons are made only with almond flour and have no trace of coconuts whatsoever.
Besides making use of granulated sugar, macarons also use powdered sugar in the recipe. This element is missing from a macaroon recipe. In addition, macaroons need condensed milk to be made. These are what brings the difference in the taste and texture of the cookies.
Furthermore, making macaroons requires less skill than making macarons. In other words, macaroons are easier to bake in comparison to macarons. Even the time required to prepare the desserts vary from one another. Macaroons also seem to be sweeter in nature when compared to macarons.
Last but not the least, if we are differentiating between macaroons and macarons, it is only fair to talk about their shelf life. Macarons will remain good to eat for only a few days after they had been made. Macaroons, on the other hand, have the added advantage of lasting longer. They will remain fresh for a period of three months if only they are frozen.
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- The similarities
Even though we have raved on about how different macaroons and macarons are from one another, it is no secret that despite their dissimilarities, they share some common features. First off, they are both gluten-free and use zero chemical leavening agents. Moreover, both the recipes require whipped egg whites which makes them structurally alike and therefore, the steps required to make them are pretty much identical.
Although macaroons are said to be American takes on French macarons, both are of Italian origin meaning their earliest forms originated in Italy. Then later on, they gained popularity in other countries.
As macaroons are considered to be a twist on the French macaron recipe, it is no surprise that they have some common features. Nonetheless, they have enough differences to be considered separate desserts. And though macarons are usually sold in patisseries while macaroons are more local, they both are undeniably delicious and delectable. So, there is no reason why we should not celebrate them both!