A Tale of Two Cookies

macaroon-vs-macaron

It was the best of cookies, it was the worst of cookies, it was the age of French treats, it was the age of Passover treats, it was the epoch of almond flour, it was the epoch of coconut, it was the season of $2 cookies, it was the season of why-even-pay-for cookies, it was the spring of taking a nice walk to a bakery, it was the winter of staying inside because these cookies are not worth it, we had all the cookies before us, we had none of the cookies before us, we were all going direct to a heavenly bakery, we were all going direct the other way…

Today’s lesson is a Tale of Two Cookies.

Friends, meet the macaroon.

coconut_macaroons

A macaroon is a cookie made mostly of coconut that is often served as a Passover delicacy — or more like a Passover punishment. These cookies come in flavors like chocolate, chocolate dipped, almond, caramel, banana nut, red velvet, and more. The only reason I see for wasting the calories (approximately 97) is that it’s Passover, you’re hungry, you don’t know where your next meal will come from, and there’s an easily accessible box of macaroons nearby. (My apologies to the three of you out there in the world who actually enjoy macaroons.)

Now, let’s meet a more exotic cookie: The French macaron.

macarons_french_confection

A French macaron (notice the spelling) is a small, light sandwich cookie with an almond meringue texture and jam or buttercream in the center. The cookies are usually colored with food coloring to match its flavor, which could be vanilla, hazelnut, chocolate, raspberry, red velvet, pistachio, lemon, caramel, cinnamon, lavender, and others. These cookies are divine, but at a minimum of $2 for each tiny cookie, the magic of these cookies is also felt in your wallet. My favorite French macarons have come from Bennison’s Bakery in Evanston or Whole Foods, and I’m always on the lookout for other bakeries that do a good job with these treats.

I’m not sure why the makers of these French cookies couldn’t have thought of a different name for these little colorful sandwiches — the macaron/macaroon game is difficult and is hard to win with those unfamiliar with the difference. But now that you, dear readers, know the difference, go out, buy some French macaroons, and don’t be put off by the title. Happy eating, everyone!

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