Macaroons have become a world classic, beloved by millions.
The only problem?
This well-known coconut concoction—at least as it is traditionally made—is not exactly plant-based friendly.
But, we have you covered.
At the end of this article, we will reveal the secret to making the most wholesome and delicious version of a macaroon you have ever tasted.
In the meantime, let’s learn a bit more about macaroons and how you can celebrate National Macaroon Day, coming up on May 31st.
More About the Macaroon
The macaroon is a small unleavened cake with a crispy outer layer and moist, chewy center.
Most often made using coconut, the macaroon is typically dipped in chocolate, with nuts sometimes added.
Even though most would describe the macaroon as a ‘cookie,’ it actually is not because it does not contain flour.
Its leaven-less nature makes this sweet treat a favorite dessert at Passover.
Having said that, the macaroon’s popularity has risen far beyond one religious holiday and is now enjoyed daily around the world.
A Little History
Culinary historians believe that macaroons originated in Italy.
In fact, the word macaroon comes from the Italian word ‘maccarone,’ which means ground almond paste (the main ingredient in early macaroons). If you go back further, the Greek root word is ‘makaki,’ meaning ‘blessed food.’
In 1533, Italian monks and nuns introduced the macaroon to France, where it was further refined using French patisserie techniques.
Legend has it that two Benedictine nuns (nicknamed the “Macaroon Sisters”) began baking and selling them to pay for their housing. Their delicious macaroons soon became famous throughout France and all of Europe.
Macaroons appeared in recipe books as early as 1725
By the late 19th century, the almond was replaced with coconut since coconut macaroon was less fragile to transport.
What Is the Difference Between a Macaroon and a Macaron?
A macaron is essentially the French version of a macaroon.
In the 18th century, French pastry chefs took the macaroon to another level. While they kept the original ingredients of almond paste, sugar and egg whites, they changed the shape and concept.
Instead of just dropping a spoonful of mixture onto a baking sheet, they created two perfectly rounded cookies, baked them and then added filling in the center. French macarons come in a variety of colors and are standard fare at weddings.
The word macaroon is more generic and refers to the classic coconut macaroon. In France, this version is called a ‘congolais.’
National Macaroon Day occurs each year on May 31st.
The absolute best way to celebrate is to bake (and of course, eat!) some macaroons.
To help you do that, here is Fran Costigan’s amazing recipe for Chocolate-Dipped Coconut Macaroons.
You are going to love them!
Just remember that coconut and chocolate are high in fat and calories. That means this delicious dessert should be enjoyed as a very occasional treat.
Happy National Macaroon Day!