Macarons are French meringues made from almond flour, whose origin dates back to the Middle Ages. In France, bakeries and pastry shops produce a huge range of traditional macarons. Of all the variants, the colorful macaron made from two cookie disks with a cream layer is the most widely spread today.
The meringue biscuit for the sandwich cookie is made from egg whites, icing sugar and very finely ground almonds and stained with colorful food extracts. The filling of the 3-5 cm Macarons usually consists of buttercream, ganache or jam in a huge variety of flavors.
Under its very thin and smooth crust, the meringue ist soft, moist and melts quickly in the mouth. In contrast to normal cookies, macarons don’t last for long without taste loss and get hard within two to four days. Macarons are considered to be rather difficult to make, as the amounts of the different ingredients, the baking temperature, the baking time as well as rest periods have to be met precisely.
Macarons, Macaroons, Macaroni?
The name “Macaron” comes from the Italian word (am)maccare, which means “to crush” or “to mash”. The Venetian word macarone or maccherone means thin or fine paste. Macarons are not to be confused with German coconut macaroons or the famous Italian pasta called macaroni.
The Long Way Of The Macaron
During the occupation of Sicily, Arab troops brought new foods such as lemons, rice and pistachios to Europe. Among them were many sweets based on nuts and filled with sweet almond cream.
After their way through Italy, the Macarons were taken from Florence to France by Caterina de’ Medici. The special occasion was her marriage with the future King of France, Henry II, in 1533. The pastry chef of the royal court continued the culinary tradition of macarons as he also offered them at the wedding festivities of Louis XIV in 1660.
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However, at this time macarons were still plain biscuits from almond flour, sugar and egg white. Only in the 18th century, jam or cream was baked into the cookies before they were opened and filled with cream at an even later point of time. Marie Antoinette, the Queen of France, was a fan of the “new” Macarons and contributed to its triumphal procession.
Now try this royal favorite for yourself!
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