Do you know the difference between a macaron and a macaroon? Why? You say? Why, there’s a big gulf of a difference!
Hence, a macaron, or I should say macarons:
The first one is almost a completely egg white sugar ground almond meringuish concoction.
And the second one is a coconut, flour, butter, egg, cookie batter concoction.
I have a collection of cookbooks here in my kitchen, nothing really exotic or expensive. I decided to go through them to see what recipes resembled the famous Parisian macarons. There really aren’t any recipes that are similar to the delicate concoctions that come out of the Parisian confectioner shops. The oldest cookbook I have is the Boston Cooking School Cook Book by Fannie Merrill-Farmer. The publishing page was torn out, so after some research I deduced it is the 1906 edition. I bought it at a flea market for a $1.00. Here is a photo of the cookbook below:
I don’t know how old the macaron or macaroon recipes are, but in this cookbook, there are two recipes that resemble, in a small way what would become the modern day recipes:
This recipe below, perhaps is similar to the macaroon recipe:
And this one below, is similar to the macaron recipe, but crudely so:
I have a reproduction of the 1950 Betty Crocker Cookbook:
This was the cookbook my grandmother had when I was a little girl, although, it was no longer in its binder and we kept the pages scattered in a drawer in the kitchen. When we wanted to cook something we went to that drawer to search for one. In this cookbook is a whole page of macaron/macaroon-like recipes, you’ll notice the recipe in each book calling for almond paste are in a small way, similar to French macarons but not entirely so:
Lastly, I have the Joy of Cooking Cookbook, which has a page of macaroon/macaron type recipes and the first one does sound like it is the classic French macaron, though it’s been titled Macaroon. It’s those pesky ooooo‘s getting in the way!
This cookbook, as you can see, has been well-used. I’ve had it now almost 35 years and had it as a newlywed.
Now, I may have the recipes for macaroons and can make a macaroon as well as the next cook, but I’m definitely no expert on making macarons. They are pretty tricky to master and I gave it a try and they were a mess, lol. I had taken a series of photos, but can’t seem to find them on my computer, so I must have deleted them. If I have time, I will try to make some & provide photos in another post.
In the meantime, here are my favorite blog websites of more famous cooks who are the experts in French macaron making:
Probably the foremost expert on macaron making is the French chef, Pierre Hermé. His macaron stores are famously well-known around the world in some of the biggest cities.
“La cuisine de Mercotte” at http://www.mercotte.fr/ written and hosted by Jacqueline Mercorelli is probably one of the best website to find recipes and videos on macaron making. The website is in French and the videos are in French, so if you don’t know French, you might need to translate it. She is such a talented pastry cook and makes the most divine desserts!
David Lebowitz, cookbook author and blog writer, has a post about macarons at http://www.davidlebovitz.com/2008/09/making-french-macarons/
A Google search turns up a whole host of bloggers who have tried their hand at making these delicate cookies. Try them, see if you can make them!