Macarons and macaroons have nearly identical names, however, these two cookies evolved from a shared origin into two very different cookies. It's a difficult distinction to make because the two desserts have a lot in common. Their spelling differs by a single "o," but they're both gluten-free and members of the cookie family. When you compare the two recipes, you'll find that the ingredients are very similar. Both contain egg whites and sugar, as well as a few drops of vanilla and a pinch of salt in certain versions. However, the two cookies have different looks and tastes and are entrenched in diverse cultural traditions. Even so, many of us, including Google, are unsure which is which, how they are similar, and how they are distinct. 

What is a Macaron? 

A macaron is made out of two meringue-based cookies sandwiched together with a filling and pronounced "mack-uh-rohn." The delicate cookies, which have smooth tops and ruffled skirts, are sometimes coloured with colourful food colouring and available in a variety of tastes, including raspberry, pistachio, chocolate, and foie gras. A good macaron is light and airy throughout, with a subtle sweet crunch. 

What goes in a Macaron?

Making macarons is a challenging and forgiving craft. To avoid deflation and dry pockets, egg whites are beaten to stiff peaks, and then fine almond flour, powdered sugar, and flavourings are gently mixed into the meringue. The batter is then piped into flat, round circles with a pastry bag, often on a silicone surface, and cooked to perfection. The cookies are then sandwiched together with fillings like jam, fruit curd, chocolate ganache, or buttercream once they've cooled. Do you want to make them vegan? Aquafaba, the liquid gold found in chickpea cans that can be whipped into a stable foam and used in place of egg whites in both recipes, can be substituted. 

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What is a Macaroon? 

Macaroons (pronounced "mack-uh-roon") are denser, chewier, and far more simpler to produce than macarons. These mounded cookies are typically made with sweetened shredded coconut and dipped in chocolate if you're lucky. Almonds are used in certain recipes, but they are usually in bigger bits (rather than precisely powdered like in macarons) or as a paste. Macaroons have a rocky surface and a chewy feel, and while most people are unlikely to spend a lot of money on a six-pack for an Instagram picture, others simply love them. 

What goes in a Macaroon?

Though both use the same egg white foundation, macaroons are unquestionably easier to create than macarons. Typically, stiffly beaten egg whites are gently blended into a mixture of shredded coconut, sugar, and vanilla before being moulded into small mounds or pyramids and baked. For an even more indulgent dessert, some recipes will call for sweetened condensed milk, although the introduction of dairy can complicate matters for some who comply with the strict dietary standards. Macaroons should be dipped in chocolate after they've been baked. They also freeze well.