I’d like to clear this up once and for all. A lot of people are confused about a basic question: what is the difference between macarons and macaroons? No, they are not the same thing!
Behold, the macaron:
And now, the macaroon:
See the difference?
While both recipes are gluten free by default, they’re entirely different cookies. The sandwich-like French macaron is more of a meringue cookie, getting its light, airy texture from egg whites. The Southern coconut macaroon, on the other hand, is a hearty lump of confectionry made of shredded coconut and condensed milk. While you can prepare coconut macaroons in about ten minutes, French macarons are generally more difficult to make – though not so impossible that they elude the home cook.
Below are two recipes, one for each kind of cookie. Enjoy!
French Macaron Recipe
(Recipe swiped from Diana’s Desserts – check out her site for other amazing recipes like bourbon truffles and chocolate marshmallows!)
Makes 50 sandwiched macarons.
For the macarons:
- 10 ounce confectioners’ sugar
- 10 ounce finely ground almonds
- 5 large egg whites
- Pinch of cream of tartar
- 1/3 cup granulated or superfine bakers sugar
- Red and yellow food coloring
For the filling:
- 9 ounce unsalted butter, softened
- 5 ounce confectioners’ sugar, sifted
- 2 ounce finely grated orange zest
- 1 teaspoon orange blossom water or orange flower water
- 1/2 cup raspberries
- 1 teaspoon rose flower water
For the macarons:
- Using a fine sieve, sift confectioners’ sugar and finely ground almonds, pushing through with a wooden spoon.
- Using an electric mixer, whisk egg whites until foamy. Add cream of tartar and whisk until soft peaks form. Add sugar, 1 tbsp. at a time, and whisk until dissolved. Stir meringue mixture into almond mixture (mixture will be stiff), then halve. Tint one half pink, the other half orange.
- Spoon 1 mixture into a piping bag fitted with a 1/2-inch plain round tip. Pipe walnut sized rounds onto parchment paper-lined baking sheets, then repeat with other mixture. Set meringues aside, uncovered, on baking sheets for 1 hour (this will help minimise cracking).
- Preheat oven to 300 degrees F/150 degrees C and bake macaroons, 2 baking sheets at a time, swapping sheets halfway through cooking, for 20 minutes or until firm to the touch. Remove from oven and cool on baking sheets. Slide a knife under each macaroon to release from paper, then store in an airtight container until ready to fill.
- Using an electric mixer, beat butter until pale and fluffy, then gradually beat in confectioners’ sugar until combined. Transfer half the mixture from the bowl to another bowl and add orange zest and orange blossom water. Stir to combine. Add raspberries and rose flower water to remaining mixture in mixing bowl and, using the electric mixer, beat until well combined. Sandwich pink macaroons with raspberry filling and orange macaroons with orange filling.
To create a perfectly smooth top on your macaroons, dip a finger into a bowl of water and gently smooth out any peaks.
- 3 cups shredded coconut
- 1 cup sweetened condensed milk
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- Generously grease two baking sheets, or use silicon baking sheets. Combine all of your ingredients and stir until completely blended.
- Drop by teaspoonfuls, 1 inch apart, on prepared baking sheets. Gently press down with the back of your spoon to give them a uniform shape.
- Bake at 350° for 15 minutes, or until cookies are golden brown. Allow to cool before removing from baking sheet.
- Makes 30-36 cookies.
Further macaron reading, in case you’re intimidated (don’t feel bad, I was too):