“I *still* haven’t tried a Macaron. I think I’m broken… >_>
But can you settle an argument for me? Is there a difference between a macaron and a macaroon?”
This is a direct quote from my good friend Chris of Aussie on the Road and was left as a comment on my latest macaron post. First Chris, you’re not broken. It’s not even been a full year since I tasted my first macaron and life as I know it changed forever (more on that story in a hot second). It’s forgivable. However, we have to remedy this macaron-less life and get you to Zumbo’s ASAP.
Second, there is a MASSIVE difference between a macaron and a macaroon. I don’t fancy myself a true expert, and I’m not the first to write a blog post about the difference one “O” can make. But I do feel it’s my duty as the “No Macaron Left Behind” lady to answer your question and shed light on this very important (I’m not joking) issue.
Let’s begin our lesson into the difference between the macarOn and macarOOn through photos (none of which are taken by me, by the way, but all credited to their creative commons photographer).
Macaroon, often topped with a cherry, the photographer
Macarons, a sandwich-like pastry, the photographer
Macaroons, often dipped in chocolate, the photographer
Macarons come in a variety of colors and flavors, the photographer
Macaroon, plain and simple, the photographer
Macaron, shell + filling + shell, the photographer
In addition to the clear differences in appearance, macarons and macaroons are made from different ingredients.
Both are meringue-based, but I believe that’s where the similarities end.
The shells are often made of egg whites, icing sugar, granulated sugar, almond powder or ground almond, and food coloring and usually filled with a flavored buttercream, ganache or jam.
Macaroons also call for egg whites in addition to ground or powdered nuts (which I’ve never seen) or coconut (which apparently is the American way).
I saw (coconut) macaroons growing up but never saw a macaron until I walked through the doors of Adriano Zumbo’s Rozelle patisserie nearly one year ago. After three months of traveling around Australia, I arrived in Sydney, ready to find a flat and job for a few months. My new friend Adam asked if I’d ever tried a “macaroon”, and when I said no, he announced we were going straight to Zumbo’s. Adam loves his cakes, so I trusted his judgement, but I secretly wrinkled my nose at the thought of a coconut macaroon. “They come in so many colors and flavors,” he said enthusiastically. “Just wait and see!” So I decided to wait and see how tasty chocolate-dipped coconut could really be. When I entered the small shop, I was puzzled by the little round colorful cookies/biscuits/pastries of joy. Where was the shredded coconut? They didn’t look a thing like I expected. Thankfully they didn’t taste a thing like what I expected either — they were so much better!
Spelling and pronunciation differences
Some people say that both can be spelled with two O’s and that the French spelling with one O is often used to differentiate the two. Whether that’s true or not, I always spell them differently. That hasn’t stopped some pastry chefs from labeling them both macarOOn, however.
I’ve always pronounced the “oo” in “macarOOn” the same way I do the O’s in “broom” or “room”.
After hearing several people in-the-know pronounce the last syllable in “macarOn” like the name “Ron”, I adopted it. Some employees at Zumbo say it like me, and a few pronounce it like it rhymes with the vowels in “room”. I like to think me and the other “Ron’s” out there are correct O:-)
I hope this helps shed a little light on the macaron vs macaroon question, Chris (and all my macaron mission followers — again, BLESS YOU)!.
I have to end with a little blog love to a few posts I found while writing this post that had funny images or additional insights:
Macaron/Macaroon — Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off
They are macarons…right?
Macarons vs Macaroons
Oh yeah, and one more macarOn photo!
Featured image via creative commons