Macaron or MacarOOn?
European macarons (mah-kah-ROHN) are an iconic food item in Europe, similar the the cupcake in US. A "MacarOOn" is a coconut based cookie popular in US and UK.
All European Macarons are made with almond meal, egg whites and sugar. Fillings are traditionally made with chocolate, buttercream or jam.
Macarons are well known in Italy, France and Switzerland. Each country uses different meringue techniques, creating three unique texture styles of the cookie.
"Producing macarons is an artisan craft and takes time and committment to master. The three key steps are: Making the prefect meringue, the method of mixing the batter called, "macaronage technique" and hand-piping the shells."
The finest modern day macarons in Paris are made by Pierre Hermé, Ladurée, Hugo & Victor and Carette.
The Macaron Sisters!
The word MACARON derives from the Italian maccherone and the Venetian macarone (meaning fine paste). Some have traced the French debut back to the arrival of Catherine de Medici's Italian pastry chefs whom she brought with her in 1533 upon marrying Henry II of France.
The macarons made in Nancy, France are best known. It is said that in the late eighteenth century, the abbess of Remiremont founded an order of nuns called, The Dames du Saint-Sacrement with strict dietary rules prohibiting the consumption of meat.
Two nuns, Sisters Marguerite and Marie-Elisabeth, created the biscuit style, "Nancy Macaron" to fit their dietary requirements. They later sold them to make money and became known as, "Les Soeurs Macarons" (The Macaron Sisters).
In the 1930s, the colorful Paris Macaron was created by Pierre Desfontaines of the French Pâtisserie Ladurée. In Zurich, Switzerland, Richard Sprungli first sold his Swiss version called, "Luxemburgerli" or "Luxembourger" which is more airy in consistency.