More photos. Fewer adjectives.

Macaron Vs Macaroon

My Wednesday was a bit of a mind-melt. Akin to the mind-melt they had when the earth was at the center of the solar system and some wank named Copernicus was stirring things up. It began with the following Twitter exchange:

@CharliesBurgers Received a box of 4 Laduree Macaroons from Paris. The Rolls Royce of macaroons. Almost too nice to eat. I did say almost.

To which I confidently replied “Macarons!! One “o” please.” Because a macaroon is different from a macaron. Really, we don’t need to further the confusion on the matter! And then I proceeded to get pwned.

@CharliesBurgers @foodpr0n En francais c’est un Macaron, in english it is a Macaroon…

Ladurée, the house that invented the current cookie-sandwich phenomena, uses macaroon on their English site. Now, having never actually bothered with the English site, this was totally unknown to me. And my soul cried out “Mais non!! NONnnn…!”

Melodramatics aside, my firmly-held belief that macaron and macaroon were two different things was flipped on its head. Because, apparently, they’re not. Even in the English edition of Larrousse Gastronomique, the spelling has two o’s. And the definition:

A small, round, biscuit (cookie) crunchy outside and soft inside, made with ground almonds, sugar and egg whites. Macaroons are sometimes flavoured with coffee, chocolate, nuts or fruit and then joined together in pairs.

To further my consternation, the English translation of the French word macaron is indeed macaroon. So it wasn’t a case of two spellings of the same word on Ladurée’s site as per my initial thought. So technically, using macaroon in an English context, is correct. Except that you may wish to specify that it is a French macaroon and not the coconut macaroon that you’re referring to (or the Scottish, Irish, Spanish, Indian, or Turkish varieties).

So what to do? Though I can no longer insist on the single-o spelling of macaron with the same conviction (or the “French Macaroon” as the English like to say), I will persist with it to refer to the now ubiquitous double-decker meringue sandwiches we see everywhere.

More macarons

[flickr-gallery mode="search" text="macaron" user_id="27065387@N00"]

12 Responses to “Macaron Vs Macaroon”

  1. Renée

    I’m just going to continue to call it a macaron regardless of what others say (macaroon doesn’t have the same ring). Most who know what it is clue in right away; those who don’t, you’d still have to explain what it is (even if one calls it a French macaroon or a meringue sandwich cookie/pastry). It seems like a no win situation.

  2. Vivien

    Guess we can’t be such snobs about it any more. But it will always be a macaron to me.

  3. 1sweetpea

    I’m laughing with you, Jen, not at you. As an editor, I’m often quick to correct spelling, grammatical, punctuation or even pronunciation errors made by others. Occasionally, I too have been wrong, much to my chagrin and humiliation. The word “macaroon” makes me instantly envision those mealy little Passover macaroons that come in coffee cans, a la Manischewitz. I also wrongly assumed that the French macaron was a fairly different beast from the often sticky, cloyingly sweet coconut nuggets that come in the Kosher-for-Passover can. The upside of learning from my mistake is that it drew my attention to the topic and has made me all the more motivated to hunt down a perfect macaron to taste. Of course, I’ll have to climb down from my high horse to enter the store when I arrive. LOL!

  4. Jen

    Renée > Definitely, there’s no good way. Except to rename the coconut macaroon something else entirely! Cocoroon? Macanut?

    Tonya > Yeah, I’m certainly sticking with macaron!

    Vivien > Well, it wasn’t about being snobby… much.. just proper language! So we thought, anyway.

    1sweetpea > Hard to find the perfect macaron in Toronto.. with or without the horse! But I’ll be right behind you when you do… I’m always sad to find that the taste doesn’t match their exterior beauty.


  5. Ned Little

    It made my day to see you get your comeuppance. Stop caring so much if someone else misspells something. Get a life.

  6. Alaana

    It is now Macaron on the Laduree english version of their website… Food for thought.

  7. Sissy

    My sister says that I am being pretentious by saying MacarON, but I guess if the counter girl in mcDonalds’ in Paris tells you the correct pronunciation, how could that be seen as snobbery?
    I made some last week, the first batch, lemon, was perfect. But the second and third coconut and chocolate, not so good. So I. Scraped and crumbled the two together in ping pong sized loose clumps, put them in cupcake wrappers and drizzles the choc. Ganache and chopped pecans. Voila!,!!! An almond Joy tasting something that stayed crispy for a week, They were as good as the Lemon with Lemon Curd. The cookie shooter was a big help, and next time, I’ll get a silicon cookie sheet. Wax paper wasn’t so hot.

  8. Jen

    Sissy > Food friends and I still say macaron! It never needs clarification, unlike macaroon. Congrats on the successful macaron bake! I’ve yet to really do this.


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