What is a macaron? What’s the difference between a “macaron” and a “macaroon”? It’s something more than just an “o”- let’s find out!
Basically both versions are meringue cookies with a base of sugar, egg whites and either ground almonds or coconut. Here is where it can get confusing- stay with me! A macaron (one “o”) is made with almond flour, egg whites, and sugar and the batter is typically dyed bright colors. The semi-liquid batter is then piped into a pan and baked. Lastly, the meringue cookies are typically then filled with buttercream or ganache. This version of the macaron has a light, crunchy outside and chewy inside, see the picture below. To add to the macaron confusion, this version of the cookie is often called a French Macaroon. For the purposes of this post, we will spell “macaron” with one “o” to imply the French version of the cookie.
I recently returned from a trip to Paris and each time I visit, I fall in love with it more. When I visited Paris three years ago, I was in awe of the hand-crafted desserts and they became one of the inspirations for this blog. So after my recent trip, it reignited the spark for baking and all things sweet! Paris is traditionally known for the lights, wine, and croissants, but I prefer to focus on the pastries.
I wanted to share a few of my favorite treats from the trip for inspiration and (literal) eye candy. For starters, all of the bread and bakery is outstanding and always fresh. It’s fairly common for the French to buy bread fresh when they need it, no Wonder Bread for them! In addition to the food and wine, the desserts and pastries are intricate and make your mouth water by just looking at them.
When I visited Paris last Fall, one of the foods I wanted to bring home in stacks in my suitcase was crepes! They tasted so great because street vendors would make them fresh to order and they were filled with an amazing variety of sweet and savory fillings. I, of course, preferred the sweet fillings, but both types were absolutely delicious. Below is a picture a street vendor in Paris making crepes. If you look closely you can see he is spreading a generous layer of cheese on top of a savory crepe that is cooking.