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Macarons 101 | Macaron vs Macaroon

What's so ironic about the posting of this recipe was that I literally had to talk someone into believing that macarons and macaroons were two totally different cookies - that same morning. This is a constant battle. But honestly it makes sense. Macarons literally just blew up out of nowhere and came with all of their glory into our dessert world. While both cookies are totally different...I mean completely different, some still get the names confused. Here's where I come in, and I'm happy to do so. So let's get into it shall we?

What is a macaron?

Derives from France, not to be confused with the Italian macaron derived from Italy; Same type of cookie, slightly different process. The macaron is a light cookie sandwich which can come in a variety of colors and flavors. Fillings for the cookie might include buttercream, jams, nutella, chocolate - you name it and it's been done. Macarons are known for their slightly crisp outer shell, a chewy center, nutty flavor, and that gorgeous fluffy... 'foot'? I know, doesn't sound too appetizing, but the foot is actually the airy part of the cookie that gives the macaron its' trademark look. Why we couldn't come up with a better name is beyond me. The macaron is made by whipped egg whites and sugar. Finely ground almond flour is then carefully incorporated and then the batter is flavored, colored, piped, and baked. I'm mentally drooling just thinking about it. Onto the macaroon.

What is a macaroon?

The macaroon derives from Italy. This cookie is pretty straightforward. A coconut cookie, usually in the shape of a mound. It's sometimes dipped or drizzled in chocolate for extra deliciousness and character. Typically this cookie isn't colored or flavored with anything other than the traditional coconut flakes. Like the macarons, this cookie is made with egg whites and sugar, however coconut is added. The batter is then spooned (sometimes piped) onto a baking sheet and baked until lightly browned.

Now that we've gone into the break down of the macaron vs. the macaroon, let's get into the recipe! Check below for the free video tutorial.

Classic Macarons:

1 C Confectioners Sugar

2 Lg Egg Whites (room temp)

1/4 C Granulated Sugar

1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract


Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Step 1: Egg Whites

Make sure the egg whites are room temperature. You'll also want to wipe down the bowl of your mixer and the attachments with lemon juice or vinegar to cut any grease. This step is pretty important as grease will keep the egg whites from whipping properly.

Add the egg whites and cream of tarter to your mixer and begin whipping on low. Cream of tarter isn't a requirement, but it does aid in the whipping process.

Next, begin to incorporate the vanilla and granulated sugar a little bit at a time. Once you've incorporated the sugar allow for the egg whites to whip for about 5 minutes or until stiff peaks have formed. The constantly should be similar to whipped cream. If you're unsure if the peaks are stiff enough, flip the mixing bowl over, none of the egg whites should move or spill.

Step 2: Sift-sation

Using a fine sifter, sifter the almond flour and confectioners sugar together into a bowl. I prefer to do this in 1/2 cup intervals. A 1/2 cup of confectioners sugar with 1/2 c of almond flour. Sift both together and discard larger granules that are leftover in the sifter. This helps you to full incorporate both ingredients and helps you to get a nice textured cookie. Once again, whatever is left in the sifter throw away. Any larger granules will weigh down the cookie.

Step 3: Mixing the Magic

Now you can color the egg whites with gel dye, and begin to fold in the almond flour mixture. You'll want to do this in 1/2 cup intervals. The key here is not to mix too fast and don't over mix. The batter should deflate a little but we want to keep a nice amount of air. So, with a rubber spatula, scrap around the bowl, then bring the batter to the center. Cut down the center of the batter with the spatula and then fold that back into the center. Do this until the batter is able to create thick ribbons when poured from the spatula back into the bowl.

Step 4: Pipe & Bake

A silicon mat on a sheet tray is definitely my preference, however you can also use parchment paper. Put your batter into a piping bag with a large round tip and begin piping your cookies leaving about 1 inch of space between each cookie. You can print a macaron template to help with sizing or you can create your own. I actually used the bottom of a k-cup and traced a bunch of circles onto a piece of paper - the perfect size.

Tap the sheet tray onto your surface a few times to knock out any air bubbles and smooth the surface. You can then release the air careful with a toothpick, then allow the cookies to sit for 30 minutes. This is what forms that nice crust. You'll know it's ready because they'll be dry to the touch. Bake the macarons for about 10 minutes. Make sure no browning occurs. When they come out of the oven allow them to sit for at least 10 minutes.

Once cooled filled with whatever your heart desires. For standard macarons, I do vanilla buttercream. Make sure to make one cookie up with another cookie that is the closest to its' size and sandwich them together. My new fave flavor - dulce de leche!


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