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Parisian-style Macarons (vanilla flavor)
Parisian-style Macarons (vanilla flavor)
Alternative namesFrench macaroon
Created byThe Italian chef of queen Catherine De Medici.
Main ingredientsCookie: egg white, icing sugar, granulated sugar, almond powder, food coloring
Filling: buttercream or clotted cream, ganache, or jam
Traditional macarons [fr] de Nancy.

A macaron (/ˌmækəˈrɒn/ mak-ə-RON;[1][2] French: [makaʁɔ̃]) or French macaroon (/ˌmækəˈrn/ mak-ə-ROON)[3][4] is a sweet meringue-based confection made with egg white, icing sugar, granulated sugar, almond powder, and food coloring. There is some variation in whether the term macaron or macaroon is used, and the related coconut macaroon is often confused with the macaron. In English, some bakers have adopted the French spelling of macaron for the meringue-based item to distinguish the two. Stanford professor of linguistics Daniel Jurafsky describes how the two confections have a shared history with macaroni (Italian maccheroni). Jurafsky notes that French words ending with "-on" that were borrowed into English in the 16th and 17th centuries are usually spelled with "-oon" (for example: balloon, cartoon, platoon).[5] In the UK, many bakeries continue to use the term "macaroon".[6][7][8]

The macaron is traditionally held to have been introduced in France by the Italian chef of queen Catherine De Medici during the Renaissance. Since the 19th century, a typical Parisian-style macaron is presented with a ganache, buttercream or jam filling sandwiched between two such cookies, akin to a sandwich cookie; the confection is characterized by a smooth squared top, a ruffled circumference—referred to as the "crown" or "foot" (or "pied")—and a flat base. It is mildly moist and easily melts in the mouth. Macarons can be found in a wide variety of flavors that range from traditional (raspberry, chocolate) to unusual (foie gras, matcha).[9]


Picture from Dictionnaire encyclopédique de l'épicerie et des industries annexes, by Albert Seigneurie, edited by L'Épicier in 1904, page 431.

Macarons have been produced in the Venetian monasteries since the 8th century A.D. During the Renaissance, French queen Catherine de' Medici's Italian pastry chefs made them when she brought them with her to France in 1533 upon marrying Henry II of France.[10] According to Larousse Gastronomique the macaron was created in 1791 in a convent near Cormery. In 1792, macarons began to gain fame when two Carmelite nuns, seeking asylum in Nancy during the French Revolution, baked and sold the macaron cookies in order to pay for their housing; these nuns became known as the "Macaron Sisters". In these early stages, macarons were served without special flavors or fillings.[11]

It was not until the 1930s that macarons began to be served two-by-two with the addition of jams, liqueurs, and spices; the macaron as it is known today, composed of two almond meringue discs filled with a layer of buttercream, jam, or ganache filling, was originally called the "Gerbet" or the "Paris macaron." Pierre Desfontaines, of the French pâtisserie Ladurée, has sometimes been credited with its creation in the early part of the 20th century, but another baker, Claude Gerbet, also claims to have invented it.[5][12] French macaron bakeries became trendy in North America in the 2010s.[13]

Earliest recipe[edit]

Many Italian cookbooks of the 16th-century mention almond biscuits closely resembling macarons, albeit under different names; the earliest known recipe dates back to the early 17th century and appears to be inspired by a French version of the recipe.

To make French Macaroones
Wash a pound of the newest and the best Jordane Almonds in three or foure waters, to take away the rednesse from their out-side, lay them in a Bason of warme water all night, the next day blanch them, and dry them with a faire cloath, beat them in a stone morter, untill they be reasonably fine, put to them halfe a pound of fine beaten Sugar, and so beat it to a perfect Paste, then put in halfe a dozen spoonefuls of good Damaske Rose-water, three graines of Ambergreece, when you have beaten all this together, dry it on a chafingdish of coales untill it grow white and stiffe, then take it off the fire, and put the whites of two new laid Egs first beaten into froath, and so stirre it well together, then lay them on wafers in fashion of little long rowles, and so bake them in an Oven as hot as for Manchet, but you must first let the heat of the Oven passe over before you put them in, when they rise white and light, take them out of the Oven, and put them in a warm platter, and set them againe into the warme Oven & so let them remain foure or five houres, and then they wil be thoroughly dry, but if you like them better being moist, then dry them not after the first baking.

— John Murrell, A Daily Exercise for Ladies and Gentlewomen (1617).[14]


Macaron preparation

There are two main methods for making a macaron - the "French" method and the "Italian" method; the difference between the two is the way the meringue is made.

In the French method, egg whites are whisked until stiff-peaked meringue forms. From there, sifted, ground almonds and powdered sugar are folded in slowly until the desired consistency is reached; this process of knocking out air and folding is called macaronage.[15]

The Italian method involves whisking the egg whites with a hot sugar syrup to form a meringue. Sifted almonds and icing sugar are also mixed with raw egg whites to form a paste; the meringue and almond paste are mixed together to form the macaron mixture. This method is often deemed more structurally sound yet also sweeter and also requires a candy thermometer for the sugar syrup.

Either Italian or French meringue can be combined with ground almonds.[16]

A macaron is made by combining icing sugar and ground almonds into a fine mixture.[17] In a separate bowl, egg whites are beaten to a meringue-like consistency;[18] the two elements are then folded together until they are the consistency of "shaving foam", and then are piped, left to form a skin, and baked.[19] Sometimes, a filling is added.


Macarons in a variety of colors
Macarons in a Pierre Marcolini shop window
Macarons on sale at Two International Finance Centre (IFC), Hong Kong


Several French cities and regions claim long histories and variations, notably Lorraine (Nancy and Boulay), Basque Country (Saint-Jean-de-Luz), Saint-Émilion, Amiens, Montmorillon, Le Dorat, Sault, Chartres, Cormery, Joyeuse and Sainte-Croix in Burgundy.

Macarons d'Amiens, made in Amiens, are small, round-shaped biscuit-type macarons made from almond paste, fruit and honey, which were first recorded in 1855.[20]

The city of Montmorillon is well known for its macarons and has a museum dedicated to them; the Maison Rannou-Métivier is the oldest macaron bakery in Montmorillon, dating back to 1920. The traditional recipe for Montmorillon macarons has remained unchanged for over 150 years.[21]

The town of Nancy in the Lorraine region has a storied history with the macaron, it is said that the abbess of Remiremont founded an order of nuns called the "Dames du Saint-Sacrement" with strict dietary rules prohibiting the consumption of meat. Two nuns, Sisters Marguerite, and Marie-Elisabeth are credited with creating the Nancy macaron to fit their dietary requirements, they became known as the 'Macaron Sisters' (Les Soeurs Macarons). In 1952, the city of Nancy honored them by giving their name to the Rue de la Hache, where the macaron was invented.[22]


Macarons in Japan are a popular confection known as マカロン (makaron).[23] There is also another widely available version of makaron which substitutes peanut flour for almond and a wagashi-style flavouring; the makaron is featured in Japanese fashion through cell phone accessories, stickers, and cosmetics aimed towards women.[24]


In Switzerland, the Luxemburgerli (also Luxembourger) is a brand name of confectionery made by the Confiserie Sprüngli in Zürich, Switzerland. A Luxemburgerli is a macaron[25][26] comprising two disks of almond meringue[27] with a buttercream filling.[28] Luxemburgerli are smaller and lighter than macarons from many other vendors.

United States[edit]

Flavors of macarons available in America have been known to include mint chocolate chip, peanut butter and jelly, snickers, peach champagne, pistachio, strawberry cheesecake, candy corn, salted pretzel, chocolate peanut butter, oatmeal raisin, candy cane, cinnamon, maple bacon, pumpkin, and salted caramel popcorn.[29]


In Paris, the Ladurée chain of pastry shops has been known for its macarons for about 150 years.[30][31]

In Portugal, Australia, France, and Belgium, McDonald's sells macarons in their McCafés (sometimes using advertising that likens the shape of a macaron to that of a hamburger).[30] McCafé macarons are produced by Château Blanc, which, like Ladurée, is a subsidiary of Groupe Holder, though they do not use the same macaron recipe.[30]

Outside of Europe, the French-style macaron can be found in Canada[32] and the United States.[33][34][35]

In Australia, Adriano Zumbo and his TV series MasterChef have contributed to the macaron becoming a popular sweet treat, and it is now sold by McDonald's in its Australian McCafe outlets.[36]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Definition of macaron in English". Oxford Dictionaries. Retrieved April 16, 2018.
  2. ^ "Definition of macaron". Merriam-Webster. Retrieved April 16, 2018.
  3. ^ "Definition of macaroon in English". Oxford Dictionaries. Retrieved April 16, 2018.
  4. ^ "Definition of macaroon". Merriam-Webster. Retrieved April 16, 2018.
  5. ^ a b Jurafsky (2011b).
  6. ^ "Macaron vs Macaroon - What's in a name anyway?". Anges de Sucre. Retrieved July 18, 2018.
  7. ^ "Miss Macaroon". Miss Macaroon. Retrieved July 18, 2018.
  8. ^ "The Collection Chocolate Macaroon Assortment (24 Pieces)". Marks & Spencer. Retrieved July 18, 2018.
  9. ^ "Macaron". Dessert Eater. Archived from the original on August 11, 2013.
  10. ^ "History of Macarons". Mad Mac LLC.
  11. ^ Robyn Lee. "Introduction to French Macarons". Serious Eats.
  12. ^ Elena Ferretti (November 30, 2009). "Macarons, the Daddy Mac of Cookies". Fox News.
  13. ^ Mary Chao (June 11, 2014). "The French Macaron Trend". Democrat & Chronicle.
  14. ^ John Murrell (1617). A Daily Exercise for Ladies and Gentlewomen (PDF).
  15. ^ "French pâtisserie technique: Macaronage". Le Cordon Bleu.
  16. ^ "How to cook perfect chocolate macarons". The Guardian.
  17. ^ "Macaron troubleshooting tips". Better with Butter.
  18. ^ "Macaroons". BBC.
  19. ^ "Macaron Myth Buster: French or Italian?". The World of Anges. February 22, 2015.
  20. ^ Nick Rider (May 1, 2005). Short Breaks Northern France. New Holland Publishers. p. 135. ISBN 9781860111839.
  21. ^ Cécile Teurlay (July–August 2003). "Montmorillon — Le musée du Macaron et de l'Amande" [Montmorillon — The Macaron and Almond Museum]. Musée de l'Amande et du Macaron (in French).
  22. ^ "Maison des Soeurs Macarons > Notre Histoire ..." (in French).
  23. ^ Jean-Philippe Darcy (July 9, 2010). "夏の新作マカロン" [Summer New Macaroons] (in Japanese). Fukui News. Archived from the original on 2012-03-17. Retrieved May 8, 2012.
  24. ^ Anderson, Sarah (August 15, 2015). "Destination JS: Macaron Edition". Japan Society. Retrieved September 30, 2015.
  25. ^ Hubbeling, Christina (October 10, 2009). "Wer macht die besten Macarons?" [Who makes the best macarons?]. Neue Zürcher Zeitung (in German). Retrieved March 3, 2014.
  26. ^ Böhler, Guido (March 20, 2010). "Macarons: wer macht die besten und schönsten?" [Macarons: who makes the best and most attractive?]. (in German). Retrieved March 3, 2014.
  27. ^ Malgieri, Nick (July 21, 1994). "Baking: How to Make a Macaroon". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved March 3, 2014.
  28. ^ Kummer, Corby (March 30, 2011). "Smackaroon! The Switzerland vs. France Cookie Smackdown". The Atlantic; the Atlantic Monthly Group. Retrieved March 3, 2014.
  29. ^ Thomson, Julie R. (October 9, 2012). "Americanized Macaron Recipes: French Cookies With American Flavors (PHOTOS)". HuffPost. Huffington Post. Retrieved September 30, 2015.
  30. ^ a b c Jargon, Julie (March 2, 2010). "Mon Dieu! Will Newfound Popularity Spoil the Dainty Macaron?". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved December 29, 2010.
  31. ^ Reed, M. H. (January 29, 2009). "Macaroon Delight". The New York Times. Retrieved December 29, 2010.
  32. ^ Chesterman, Lesley (October 11, 2008). "Macaron mania hits Montreal - finally!". The Gazette (Montreal). Archived from the original on November 9, 2012. Retrieved December 29, 2010.
  33. ^ Denn, Rebekah (October 25, 2009). "French macarons are sweet, light and luscious". The Seattle Times.
  34. ^ Greenspan, Dorie (April 1, 2010). "Macarons: New to The Easter Parade This Year". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved December 29, 2010.
  35. ^ Neda Ulaby (February 12, 2010). "Move Over, Cupcake: Make Way For The Macaroon". NPR. Retrieved December 29, 2010.
  36. ^ Chavassieu, Olivia (April 15, 2008). "Heaven on Earth". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved March 7, 2012.


Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

  • The dictionary definition of macaron at Wiktionary