Macaron or Macaroon?

By Bryan Ochalla [CC BY-SA 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

By Bryan Ochalla [CC BY-SA 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Macey Honjiyo, Entertainment

The macaron and macaroon have long since made their way to the U.S. The question is, do you know the difference?

The macaroon (pronounced: mah-ə-roon) is often thought of as just another name for macaron when in fact it is a completely different dessert.

Although the origin is the same, macaroons have coconut shavings or flakes in them and are stand-alone cookies not to be served with any filling.

The macaron (pronounced: mah-kə-rohn) is a French dessert that was created by Italian chef Catherine de’ Medici. It is often debated if the dessert originated in France or Italy but, wherever it originated, all parties equally benefit from its creation.

Back in 1533 macarons were just a cookie, no filling. It wasn’t until the late 1900s when pastry chef Pierre Desfontaines decided to add a little filling to the otherwise plain cookie, recreating the macaron into its more widely recognizable form.

Today, you can find macarons in most pastry shops in a variety of sizes and flavors. In America, the once baby-bite-sized treat has taken a turn for the larger. Many require at least two bites or a stuffed mouth, at best.

Prices vary but in Honolulu, on average, a macaron can cost anywhere from two to four dollars apiece. Of course, one is never enough for such a delicious dessert; many people have three or more at a time. Macarons are also a splendid gift to give your friends but the prices can get rather high for such a simple dessert.

That being said, fear not pastry addicts for you can get your macaron fix without breaking the bank. Here’s a generic macaron recipe that I modified.

Macaron recipe


For cookie

  • 2 large egg whites
  • ¼ cup white sugar
  • ⅔ cup almond flour or finely ground almonds
  • 1 cup powdered or confectioners sugar
  • Food coloring

For filling

Any filling is fine but for a slightly tangy flavor to counter the sweet cookie I personally like to use a cream cheese filling

  • 4 oz softened cream cheese
  • 4 oz softened butter
  • 2 cups powdered or confectioners sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 10 drops of any food coloring of your choice


For Cookie

  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F (148.889 degrees C). Line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper.
  2. Beat egg whites with a whisk until whites are foamy; beat in white sugar (if you want to add food coloring remember to whisk in your favorite color before the egg whites form glossy peaks) and continue beating until egg whites are glossy, fluffy, and hold soft peaks. First sift confectioners’ sugar then ground almonds or almond flour  in a separate bowl and quickly fold the almond mixture into the egg whites, about 30 strokes.
  3. Spoon a small amount of batter into a plastic bag with a small corner cut off and pipe a test disk of batter, about 1 1/2 inches in diameter, onto prepared baking sheet. If the disk of batter holds a peak instead of flattening immediately, gently fold the batter a few more times and retest.
  4. When batter is mixed enough to flatten immediately into an even disk, spoon into a pastry bag fitted with a plain round tip. Pipe the batter onto the baking sheet in rounds, leaving space between the disks. Let the piped cookies stand out at room temperature until they form a hard skin on top, about 1 hour.
  5. Bake cookies until set but not browned, about 10 minutes; let cookies cool completely before filling.

For Filling

  1. In a large bowl, beat together the butter and cream cheese with an electric mixer
  2. Set mixer to low speed, add the powdered sugar a cup at a time until smooth and creamy
  3. Beat in the vanilla extract and food coloring