Are you too bored with presenting the same cupcakes at your parties? Looking for something different, more fun and delicious? What about macarons? Yes, that colorful and delicate sandwich of two filled with sweet filling is perfect for your dessert menu and when it melts in the mouth, Ah! That feeling.
But the sad part is that a number of people still get confused with its cousin, the coconut macaroon. They are not fully sure about what they are actually getting in the name of macaron or what are the differences between a macaron and macaroon? If anyhow you also find yourself considering about the same, be sure to read on and make yourself clear about it.
Macarons v/s Macaroons
Macaron or macaroon? Both the words sound similar, right? But do you know the difference between these both delicious and popular cookie types? The very first and important difference between both is: Macaron is meringue based and macaroon is coconut based.
And also, making both the type comes with a certain level of difficulties that make them extreme opposites. Still not getting what exactly we mean? Don’t worry, I have broken it all down for you to understand things easily.
- The word macaron (mack-ah-ROHN) is derived from the Italian word Macaroni.
- This cookie type is meringue based and includes egg whites, sugar, and almond flour.
- They will give you a delicate, eggshell-like crust with a meringue inner texture.
- Here you can serve them with a delicious filling of your choice. It might be buttercream, fruit jam or ganache.
- Macarons are not overly sweet and also, comes with a great variety of colors and flavors.
- Making macarons require great skills, patience, and practice.
- This type is very easy and clean to eat, which means they are not very crumbly.
- The word macaroon (mack-ah-RUNE) is an English derivation of the French word macaron.
- This cookie type is coconut based and includes egg whites, grated coconut, and powdered sugar.
- They will give you a chewy fell with a lumpy and dense texture.
- Macaroons use shredded coconut which makes its signature texture and taste.
- Macaroons are extremely sweet and come with some famous variations like chocolate dipped, squared, and lemon-flavored.
- Making this amazing treat require only 10-20 minutes.
- This type can create a mess while eating and are often crumbly.
Main Ingredients for Making Macarons
All the macaron shell recipes call for the following 4 main ingredients. It depends where you are, for whom you are preparing these delicious macarons, these ingredients will remain the same but what differs is correct portions and ratios.
1. Almond flour
Also known and written as almond meal in many recipes, almond flour is nothing but naturally blanched almond grounds into a super fine powder. Always ensure that your almond flour is perfectly fine, smooth to touch, and dry.
Check before adding the flour and if it sticks together, it means there’s a bit of trapped moisture. To make it dry you can simply spread it on the baking tray and place it in the oven for a few minutes at low temperature.
2. Egg Whites
Macarons are considered “PRESENTABLE” when they are given light and airy texture. Maximum recipes always call for egg whites, especially aged egg whites. I always follow a rule: after separating my egg whites I use the yolks for other recipes. If possible, make this your habit too.
To get aged egg whites, simply keep them in the refrigerator, loosely covered for about 2-3 days. You have to bring them to the room temperature before you need your egg whites.
3. Sugar (Granulated or Caster)
Well, there are many professionals those who consider superfine granulated sugar rather than white sugar as their first choice in order to attain a smoother texture. But what I believe is, there’s no such difference between them.
White sugar, when mixed with egg whites, can also be used to make the macaron’s meringue-like structure.
4. Icing Sugar or Powdered Sugar
ATTENTION: This very fine powder can fly in almost every different direction even at the slightest movement, which can turn your baking experience into a frustrating one. But since it is very fine one can easily combine this powdery texture with the almond flour with great ease.
There are some brands that include cornstarch to avoid clumping, so make sure you get one with the minimum possible percent of cornstarch and ideally zero.
Points to Ponder before you start Baking
Before you show your excitement for baking your favorite macarons in the kitchen, you should always be well aware of these little nuances, which will help you in making a great batch for you or your family.
Well, this is one of the points which should always remain in your head while baking that you need to follow the recipe attentively. Only that way your macarons will turn out right. So, measure all the ingredients properly and just eyeball it. You might even find some recipes asking you to add a certain no. of cups instead of actual weight. And the thing is there’s no fixed weight for the CUPS thus, this is the place where things start going wrong.
A huge part of the end results of your macarons depends on moisture and humidity. So remember while measuring ingredients and preparing your macarons, all your equipment and tools should be fully dry. Otherwise, unintentionally you will be left with some extra water strolling in and a messed up mixture.
Parchment Paper or Silicone Mats
If you are available with non-stick baking mats, I would suggest do not even think about parchment paper. The only risk while using a parchment paper is they are very light and can flap around in the oven, which can mess up your macaron texture. But if you have the option of parchment paper only, then stick it with a bit of extra egg white to avoid the mess.
Type of Meringue for Macarons
Before you start with the above tips and other information, here are the types of meringue you can bring in use to understand the macaron making process more firmly.
Starting with the commonest and most straightforward kind of meringue, this one simply requires whisking with the sugar directly into your egg whites.
Working with this meringue is bit technical. You first need to melt your sugar and then using a candy thermometer get the right temperature before you add it to your egg whites.
If you are going for Swiss meringue, first whisk your egg whites and sugar together over boiling water. Now add the dry ingredients. You’ll get a stiffer and firmer mixture as the end results and remember it will specifically work for meringues and less for macarons.
How to Store Macarons?
Generally, the shelf-life of a macaron is just 3-5 days. Professionals always suggest refrigerating them as these babies need little extra care. You can take them out from the fridge 30 minutes before serving.