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Macaroons Are An Italian Creation Not French

Each year on May 31st, National Macaroon Day the small coconut cookie that’s full of flavor and variety, too. Don’t mistake these with the delicate sandwich cookies called macarons. No, these small, but substantial cookies hold their own despite the sometimes mistaken identity. For coconut lovers, this day is a little bit of bliss.

  • The Italians receive credit for creating these sweet morsels sometime around the 8th or 9th century. The recipes later traveled to France. However, in other parts of the world, the once flourless cookie served its purpose during religious observances.
  • Coconut is one of those love-hate ingredients. ~Chef Marcus Samuelsson
  • Macaroons are the most popular sweet sold in Paris.
  • In North America, the coconut macaroon is the best known variety.
  • The world’s tallest pyramid that was made entirely of macaroons was created in 2013. It is now featured in the Guinness Book of World Records. It used 8540 macaroons that were donated by local entrepreneurs.
  • Macaroons did not become a double-decker affair until the 20th century. It was originally served as a single cookie. However, with creams and rich flavors growing in popularity, the double-decked design quickly became a winner. Nevertheless, there are still a lot of towns in France that sell single-layer macaroons.
  • The name macaroon comes from the Italian name of maccarone, which means a doughy, soft texture.
  • While origins are uncertain, some culinary historians claim that macaroons can be traced to an Italian monastery. The monks came to France in 1533, joined by the pastry chefs of Catherine de Medici, wife of King Henri II. Later, two Benedictine nuns, Sister Marguerite and Sister Marie-Elisabeth, came to Nancy seeking asylum during the French Revolution. The two women paid for their housing by baking and selling macaroon cookies, and thus became known as the “Macaroon Sisters.”
  • The original macaroon was a small sweet cake consisting largely of ground almonds similar to Italian amaretti.
  • The Scottish macaroon is a sweet confection with a thick velvety center covered in chocolate and topped with roasted coconut.
  • Macarons and macaroons both start out with the same base of sugar and egg whites. But, to make French macarons, you also fold in finely ground almonds and other ingredients before baking them into a smooth-topped cookie. The French macaron also contains a filling.
  • The American macaroon, on the other hand, contains shredded coconut and has a crisp outside and a soft, chewy inside.
  • Macaroons became popular and favored by Jews due to the snack’s unleavened nature, meaning it can be enjoyed throughout the Passover period.
  • The most popular macaron flavors are: pistachiogreen teavanillacaramelchocolateespresso and raspberry.
  • Some strange macaron flavors are: foie gras, cheetos, wasabi, vegemite and lavender.
  • French macaron bakeries became trendy in North America in the 2010s.

Sources:

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