I have a confession to make: I have never had a macaron…until this past Sunday! I FINALLY was able to try one these incredibly delicate yet amazingly rich French pastries and my life has been changed! I have seen many a blogger and friends post pictures of these cute, little sandwich-looking treats, but I’ve never had the chance to actually try one.
This past Sunday, a few girlfriends and I went downtown Toronto to this exquisite Parisian cafe called Colette Grand Cafe. I struggle to find the right words to properly describe just exactly how incredible it really was. From the outside, it doesn’t look like much as it’s underneath condo’s and beside a hotel, right across the street from a parking lot. But the minute you open that front door, you are whisked into Paris, or so it seems, where every single detail has been finessed into perfect order. I have never been in a restaurant like this before and let me tell you, I WILL be back!
If you are ever in the Toronto area, I would strongly encourage you to check this place out. They are open for lunch and dinner in their restaurant, but they also have a bakery side where they serve incredible lattes and the most exquisite French pastries, including the famous macaron.
So I HAD to try them! I had the vanilla, caramel buttercream and bitter chocolate. Let me tell you, they lived up to ALL the hype I’ve read about them and more! The way the shell crumbles as you take that first bite and then as you get to the buttercream filling, it turns into more of a nougat-like texture. So creamy and rich yet also light and soft. It’s like the perfect combination of textures as you eat!
As we were all eating our macarons, we got into a discussion about whether they are called macarons (one o) or macaroons (two o’s). Even the staff at Colette all pronounced it differently, which made me want to do a little more investigating to figure out what on earth is the difference?
This past summer, I planned my sister’s baby shower and many of the guests asked if they could help by bringing some sweets. So I made a list of all the various treats I’d like to have and then asked her friends for those specific ones. I asked one friend to bring macarons as I was so excited to try them and thought they would be the perfect fit for the shower. When they arrived, she had brought the coconut macaroons and said to me “Is this what you meant? I was so confused at the bakery!” And I responded ‘No, but that’s ok…these look fabulous too!”
So I’ve realized, I think perhaps there are MANY people in this world, who are confused by the difference between these two VERY different confections. So let’s break it down and settle it once and for all!
Besides both cookies sounding similar, the only thing they truly have in common is that they are egg based. And that’s where the similarities end. The macaron, is a meringue based made egg whites, ground almonds flour, powdered and granulated sugar and then filled with buttercream, ganache or fruit filling. It has a super delicate shell that crumbles when bitten into and turns more into a chew, like I said above, nougat-like, once you really get into it. To add to the confusion, often times these are referred to as “French Macaroons”. The proper way to pronounce this style of French pastry is “mah-kah-rohn”, where the ending sounds like the name “Ron.”
Macaroons, however, are entirely different. You may be more familiar with these…I know I certainly ate them growing up. They are commonly referred to as Coconut Macaroons and as pictured below, are often dipped in chocolate. These are made with ground almonds, coconut, sugar and eggs. Similar ingredients, for sure. They are dropped into place with a star point on the top and much more dense and chewy than a macaron. These are pronounced “mah-kah-roon,” that sounds like “room” or “bloom” or “loon”.
Well, there’s a little lesson in differentiating between macaron’s and macaroon’s! If you have never tried a classic French macaron, you MUST do that right away! I am ruined for life now and can’t wait to sink my teeth into another! Apparently they are VERY tricky to make, but that will be my next baking challenge! Here’s Martha Stewart’s recipe for French Macaron’s that I will be trying shortly! I’ll keep you posted on how they turn out!
Have you ever tried to make macaron’s? How did they turn out? Any tips/tricks?
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Love & Blessings,