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What are macarons?

Macarons
French macarons are thin, flavorful meringue cookies that are sandwiched together with some kind of filling. The meringues are what make the cookies unique. They have a smooth, crisp shell and a moist, chewy interior. They are made with egg whites and lots of ground nuts, which helps them to attain that chewy texture without drying out and becoming too crispy, like a simple meringue cookie made with just egg whites and sugar.  The fillings can be almost anything that will stay between the cookies, from jams and preserves to caramel to buttercream frosting. I’ve even used Nutella to finish off a batch of macarons before. Although they can come in any size, macarons are typically small enough to be eaten in one or two bites.

Macarons are a French staple and if you happen to be in Paris, you’ll have no trouble finding them at most bakeries. Here in the US, the cookies are growing in popularity, but are still not that common. You’ll have to look in your area for a restaurant or bakery that specializes in French pastries to find some, and it might take even more time to find very good ones. You can also make them at home with just a few simple ingredients, where you can experiment with different flavors and fillings to customize your creations.

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9 Comments
  • Liz @ Blog is the New Black
    January 11, 2011

    Macaroons are awesome!

  • Lisa@ButteryBooks
    January 11, 2011

    I love all the colors! Nutella can make cardboard taste good. I read that macaroons are going to be a hot item in 2011 so they should be easier to find in the US.

  • Pattyann
    January 11, 2011

    I love the colors. I think it would be fun to try and make them on my own.

  • Jennifer J-W
    January 12, 2011

    So weird, because I made your french vanilla ice cream last night and have a TON of egg whites leftover in my fridge and started researching macaron recipes this morning to use them up. Usually I make regular meringue cookies or angel food cake, but wanted to try something different.
    One thing, is “macaron” pronounced the same as “macaroon?”

  • Jill Colonna
    January 13, 2011

    Great post. Just seen Jennifer’s comment which personally gets me all excited at the mention of tons of egg whites ready for macaron-making.
    BTW, here in France we call them ma-kah-ron.
    Have fun!

  • Jennifer J-W
    January 13, 2011

    Jill,
    Thanks! I’m thinking of making ones with almond cream filling, but I’m not sure if that’ll be “too almond-y.”

    Jennifer

  • Chef Barbie
    January 16, 2011

    or you can find them in the freezer section at your local trader joe’s market!

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