by Marisa Miyasaki, Community Manager for Menuism.com
Macarons have become wildly popular, frequently leading to confusion between the terms macaron and macaroon. Although we've seen the terms used interchangeably, the different spellings do, in fact, connote different meanings. Macaroons are flourless cookies made of egg whites, sugar, ground almonds, coconut and sometimes, chocolate. Parisian macarons are colorful, sandwich-like confections filled with jam, ganache, or butter. The fillings come in a variety of flavors, and they're encased by cookies made of egg whites, sugar and ground almonds. While Parisian macarons have gained a global following of sweet-toothed fanatics, coconut macaroons have been largely overlooked. That ends today -- we won't allow these delicious cookies to succumb to a crumb-y defeat. May 31st is National Macaroon Day, and we encourage you to celebrate with us.
Although the exact origins have not been proven, it is widely believed that macaroons originated in an Italian monastery many centuries ago. The word macaroon comes from the Italian word, maccarone, which means "paste." Italian Jews embraced the flourless, leaven-less recipe for Passover, and it went on to to become a popular Kosher recipe. In 1533, the pastry chefs of Catherine de Medici, wife of King Henry II, brought the recipe to France. Centuries later, two Benedictine nuns, Sister Marguerite and Sister Marie-Elisabeth, sold the macaroon cookies in order to pay for their housing during the French Revolution. The sisters were aptly named the "Macaroon Sisters" and their cookies became famous throughout Europe.
The earliest macaroons were almond meringue cookies with a crisp crust surrounding a soft interior. Composed of egg whites and almond paste, they bore a resemblance to the amaretti variety that is still enjoyed today. Different regions adopted different versions of the recipe, and the addition of shredded coconut became a prevalent ingredient. The North American variety of the coconut macaroon is often dipped in dark or white chocolate, with an added sprinkle of nuts. While macaroons enjoyed widespread popularity in its heyday, they have become increasingly obsolete in recent years. In hopes of sparking a revival of interest in macaroons, we encourage you to participate in celebrating National Macaroon Day at a local bakery.
Come satisfy your sweet cravings at one of Menuism's favorite spots for macaroons:
Lotta's Bakery (San Francisco, CA)
Veniero's Pasticceria & Caffe (New York, NY)
Pan Hellenic Bakery (Chicago, IL)
Three Girls Bakery (Seattle, WA)
Marisa Miyasaki loves to mix and match different cuisines and believes Korean Tacos are just about the coolest thing ever invented. She is a devout foodhist and has a borderline-crazy obsession with taking pictures of nearly everything she eats. As Menuism's Community Manager, Marisa hopes to share her passion for food with the world -- one hungry foodie at a time.