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Macaron or macaroon, that is the question

My lovely customers often question me about the difference between a “macaron” and a ” macaroon”. I wasn’t sure myself at the outset, and I’ve certainly had some good-natured debates about this scintillating topic since starting The Real Macaron Company,more than 8years ago. My Oxford English dictionary defines a macaroon as ” a small light cake or biscuit made with white of egg, sugar and ground almonds or coconut” – the same simple ingredients required to make the somewhat more sophisticated macaron. It stands to reason, therefore, that the difference must be in the recipe and the all-important technique – the "macaronage" – that appears to be second nature to French pastry chefs. My first, naive attempt at baking macarons certainly resulted in something more akin to a chunky, almond biscuit! A slightly wicked thought – but I can’t help wondering if the English macaroon didn't evolve from the failure of yester-year cooks to master the Parisian macaron.

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