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Macarons: Don't Confuse Them With Macaroons

Happy National Macaroon Day! As we enjoy our fresh cookies in celebration, it's high time we also set the record straight: the word "macaron" is not an alternate spelling of macaroon. In fact, the two terms refer to distinctly different things. Both macarons and macaroons are confections, and both names are derived from ammaccare, which is Italian for "to crush" — but that's where the similarities end.

A macaron specifically refers to a meringue-based cookie made with almond flour, egg whites, and granulated and powdered sugar, then filled with buttercream or fruit spread. The delicate treat has a crunchy exterior and a weightless interior with a soft ending that's almost nougatlike in its chewiness. To add to the confusion, it's often called a French macaroon.

In contrast, the word macaroon is a generic phrase that is applied to a number of small, sweet confections. Mostly, the term is equated with the moist and dense coconut macaroon, which is composed of egg whites, sugar, and dried coconut, often piped with a star-shaped tip, and sometimes dipped in chocolate. The coconut macaroon, or congolais, as it's known in France, is frequently served during Passover because it contains no flour. Which would you rather eat?

Photos: Sara Yoo and Anna Monette Roberts
Shundara15215320 Shundara15215320 38 weeks 22 h
I am guilty of confusing the two, but they are both to delicious for me to pick one over the other..
Ga14972531 Ga14972531 47 weeks 6 days
I find macaroons to be far superior to macarons. I really do not like cream-filled cookies. Macarons are only really good if they have blackberry jelly inside them. :D
Emily-Bibb Emily-Bibb 1 year 16 weeks
I was so guilty of this! Thanks for clearing it up :)
sourcherries sourcherries 4 years 23 weeks
I concur w/ Bella. Macarons are sooo much better than macaroons. I can only have teeny bite of the ooey sticky sweet macaroon, but macarons--oh, I crave the whole box! They are so delicate, refined, delicious! Any recipe, Yum?
4 years 23 weeks
In the UK macaroons, can be either almond or coconut but plain and unfilled which is how I like them. I don't like the look of those cream filled macarons.
countchocula countchocula 4 years 23 weeks
Macarons are SO good! I love baking and I'm pretty good at it but I've attempted about 5 batches of macarons and failed each time. There's a lot of practice and willingness to waste eggs and almonds involved in macaron-making.
prencesschris prencesschris 4 years 23 weeks
agreed . macaron > macaroon !
orangek8 orangek8 4 years 24 weeks
I LOVE macaroons, but I think macarons are kind of eh.
KadBunny KadBunny 4 years 24 weeks
Mmm.. macaroons.
socalbeachgal socalbeachgal 4 years 24 weeks
Give me a macaron anytime over a macaroon!
dootsie dootsie 4 years 24 weeks
I'm so with Bella. Macarons are these complicated little pastries that take oodles of patience. They're pricey to make, they're chock full of wonderful flavors and they're an experience in and of themselves. Macaroons? Not so much...
POPSUGAR-Beauty POPSUGAR-Beauty 4 years 24 weeks
Macaron > macaroon!