Macaron or Macaroon? Well, May 31 is definitely National Macaroon Day and it’s most assuredly an American holiday since the macaroon is definitely an American cookie! However, the confusion is natural. The origins of macaron and macaroon are the same and many of the ingredients overlap. Both use a fair amount of sugar to make these delightful confections. Both use egg whites to make the cookies rise and give them a light texture. However, the French macaron (which actually originated in Italy) uses almond flour at its base while the American macaroon uses shredded coconut to great effect.
We have Mrs. Esther Levy to thank for popularizing the great macaroon. In 1871 Mrs. Levy published the First Jewish American Cookbook. She originally published this recipe in the chapter of “cakes” as there was not a chapter on cookies.However, it’s understandable — as the texture of a macaroon isn’t very cookie like. It is soft and a little chewy, more like a cake than a cookie. However, the bite-size serving is most definitely cookie-like.
Macaroons deserve to be celebrated and recognized for their own characteristics. Coconut was substituted for almond flour when the first coconut palms planted in Florida began to yield fruit. Thus macaroons are not only tasty little delights, they were an early exercise in the locavore movement, eating produce grown close to home.