Let us finally settle the debate and set the ongoing macaron :: macaroon record straight. The word “macaron” is not an alternate spelling of “macaroon”. In fact, the terms refer to distinctly different confections. Although both macarons and macaroons are confections, and each moniker is derived from ammaccare, which is Italian for “to crush” — that is where the similarities begin and end.
A macaron specifically refers to a meringue-based cookie made with almond or pistachio flour, egg whites, and granulated and powdered sugar. They are filled with buttercream, ganache or fruit curd. This delicate cookie has a crunchy shell-like exterior and a moist weightless interior with a soft chew that’s almost nougatlike in texture. To add to the confusion, it’s often referred to as a French macaroon.
In contrast, the word macaroon is a very generic phrase that is applied to a number of small, sweet confections. Most often, macaroon refers to the moist and dense coconut macaroon, which is composed of egg whites, sugar, and dried coconut, often piped with a star-shaped tip, and sometimes dipped in chocolate. The coconut macaroon, or congolais, as it’s known in France, is frequently served during Passover because it contains no flour.
So there you are… the debate is over and you need never stumble over the words again.