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almond macaroons

  • Macaroons, the Cookie for Everyone!

    The holidays have come and pass, and everyone has most definitely eaten more than they needed to, but that’s part of what the holidays are all about.  Of course with all the eating there has to be a favorite and for us that is dessert!  Many people will enjoy all kinds of desserts but one of the best is the macaroon.  The macaroon has existed for centuries; some even say it has been around since the 9th century where it was first created in Italy.  What makes macaroons unique is their ingredients and long history.

    Macaroon’s origins can be traced back to the Italian monastery, and it is believed that they were brought to France in 1533.  The cookies were very popular in those times and were also popular with particular religious groups, like the Italian Jews because they had no flour or leavening.  They eventually spread throughout the rest of Europe as well, and that’s where alterations to the original recipe happened.

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    Macaroon’s name comes from the Italian word maccarone or maccherone which referred to the almond paste which was the main ingredient in them.  The other ingredients are sugar and egg whites.  As macaroons spread throughout Europe the recipe was altered.  In some recipes potato starch is added to give the macaroons more body.  Due to the shelf life of mashed potatoes in macaroons they are not a common commercial recipe.  One of the biggest changes to the recipe was introducing shredded dry coconut.  At first the coconut was added in small amounts but over time it completely replaced the ground almonds in some recipes.

    Today, coconut macaroons are the most popular in North America, but the recipe keeps changing and new variations are being created.  Companies like James Candy offer a whole variety of macaroons.  One of the most popular adaptations to this recipe is dipping the macaroons in chocolate.  Originally people preferred them being dipped in milk chocolate, but now you can get them dipped in dark and white chocolate!  They also have the delicious French version known as a Macaron (French Macaroon).  These lovely delights are two very light almond meringue cookies that sandwich a filling.  The macaroon is unique because of its feathery lightness and soft creamy filling.

    Don’t let the end of the holidays end your enjoyment of mouth-watering, scrumptious baked goods.  Macaroons are one of those delightful treats that are fun to eat any time of the year, and are perfect for giving to visitors and friends.

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