|Created by||The Italian chef of Catherine de' Medici|
|Main ingredients||Cookie: Egg white, icing sugar, granulated sugar, almond powder or ground almond, food coloring
Filling: buttercream, or clotted cream, ganache, or jam
|Cookbook: Macaron Media: Macaron|
A macaron (// mah-kə-ROHN; French pronunciation: [makaʁɔ̃]) is a sweet meringue-based confection made with egg white, icing sugar, granulated sugar, almond powder or ground almond, and food coloring. The macaron commonly consists of a ganache, buttercream or jam filling sandwiched between two cookies. The name is derived from the Italian word macarone, maccarone or maccherone, the meringue. The confection is characterized by a smooth squared top, a ruffled circumference (referred to as the "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 the traditional (raspberry, chocolate) to the new (foie gras, matcha).
The related macaroon is often confused with the macaron. In English, most bakers have adopted the French spelling of macaron for the meringue-based item, to distinguish the two. This has caused confusion over the correct spelling. Some recipes exclude the use of macaroon to refer to this French confection while others treat the two as synonymous. The two food items are different, and the terms in English distinguish them. Etymologically, the word macaroon is simply an Anglicisation of the French word macaron (compare balloon, from French ballon). Multiple pronunciations are technically correct depending on personal preference and context. In a Slate article on the topic, Stanford professor of linguistics and computer science Dan Jurafsky indicates that "macaron" (also, "macaron parisien", or "le macaron Gerbet") is the correct spelling for the confection.
Macarons have been produced in the Venetian monasteries since the 8th century A.D. During the Renaissance, 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. Larousse Gastronomique cites 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.
It was not until the 1830s 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. French macaron bakeries became trendy in North America in the 2010s.
Many Italian cookbooks of the 16th century mention almond biscuits closely resembling macarons albeit under different names. The earliest known recipe dated back from the early 17th century and appears to be inspired by a French version of the recipe.
There are two main methods to 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 a 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.
The Italian method involves whisking the egg whites with a hot sugar syrup to form a meringue. The sifted almonds and powdered 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.
A macaron is made by combining icing sugar and ground almonds until fine. In a separate bowl, egg whites that are beaten until a meringue-like texture. 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. Sometimes, a filling is added.
Flavors of macarons available in America are available in respect to the general tastes of the public. These include flavors such as 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.
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.
The city of Montmorillon is well known for its macarons and has a museum dedicated to it. The Maison Rannou-Métivier is the oldest macaron bakery in Montmorillon, dating back to 1920. The traditional recipe for Montmorillon macarons remains unchanged for over 150 years.
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.
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 comprising two disks of almond meringue with a buttercream filling. Luxemburgerli are smaller and lighter than macarons from many other vendors.
Macarons in Japan are a popular confection known as "makaron". There is also a version of the same name which substitutes peanut flour for almond and is flavored in wagashi style, widely available in Japan. The "makaron" is featured in Japanese fashion through cell phone accessories, stickers, and cosmetics aimed towards women.
In Paris, the Ladurée chain of pastry shops has been known for its macarons for about 150 years[update]. In 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). 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.
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