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June 12 2016

1911 b67c
Tags: macarons

A Brief Tale of the Macaron

The newest "new to you, old to others" recipe making the round is the macaron, a delightfully moist cookie. While it shares certain similarities with the macaroon, there a number of differences that ensure that you will not mistake them for long: While both start as basically a meringue the macaroon usually has shredded coconut folded into it before baking while macarons use ground almonds. Also, while macaroons are usually served either plain or  dipped in chocolate, macarons are more of a sandwich cookie with an iced top and a variety of fillings. 

Although originating in Italy in the 16th century, macarons eventually found a home in France. There is  a museum dedicated to the cookie in Montmorillon. Virtually every region has its own variation, with differences in the filling providing the biggest difference, although the shape of the cookie can vary as well. The biggest difference is between the Italian and French school, which define how the meringue is made. In either case when the meringue is made it is then piped onto a sheet and allowed to bake into a thin skin. Once finished and shaped, the bottom part is covered in filling and the top put on. The top is usually dipped to give it a pastel shell. After cooling it is ready to be eaten. 

 The cookie has become the favorite of American chefs who have created their own versions. Americans have had a little bit more fun with the filling, with almost every kind of filling employed by different pastry chefs. Although it is noted that macarons are hard to create they are well worth the effort, and some chefs have found ways to mass produce the cookie. It is not hard to find some great place that sells them, either in Europe or America. For those interested in creating them there are a wide variety of recipes available for any taste. It may take some practice, but it is well worth it. 

The macaron has undergone little change since its beginning in terms of its form, but has evolved in a number of ways. The fillings have been adapted to modern tastes and have proliferated almost beyond count. The cookies have been the basis of new businesses, even showing up on a business pitch show. Macarons are a fun cookie to make, and add just the right touch of lightness to dessert. As they are a great cookie for almost every situation it is unlikely that they will ever disappear from the menu, and it is more likely that they will continue to proliferate.
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