What are macarons? Get to know your favorite French treat in this comprehensive guide!
Macarons, Paris, or French macarons (pronounced mack-a-ROHNS) have been around for years and are a staple in European countries, especially in France.
You can find these tasty treats anywhere; whether it’s at tea salons, cafes, bakeries, or even online shops, these tasty snacks won’t fail to shine.
If you’re fond of them, chances are you’re likely familiar with the indulgence when munching one of thesemelt-in-your-mouth, tiny sandwich cookies.
But what are macarons?
This comprehensive guide explores everything you need to know about the cookie, including its flavor profile, storage method, and shelf life.
I also included some interesting information about its origin, so better not miss that part!
A macaron is a light but delectable meringuesandwich cookie made from almond flour, egg whites, sugar, and food coloring.
The light and sweet macaron shells are generally filled with food mixtures such as buttercream, chocolate ganache, or jam filling.
The perfect macaron, usually less than 3 inches across, should possess a wafer-thin crust and meltingly soft or slightly chewy interior, which is complementary to the sweet filling.
Elegant, delicious, and magical—one bite is enough to give you a little taste of Parisian living. Now take my money!
Although the history of the macaron remains to be unclear, a popular theory suggests that the delicacy was originated in Italy.
It was believed that the recipe was brought to France in the early 1500s after Queen Catherine de Medici of Italy tied the knot with King Henry II of France.
That time, the “old” French macaron recipe, which was purely made from almonds, beaten egg whites, and powdered sugar, was known as “priest’s bellybutton” and considered an exclusive treat for the royals.
It was only in the late 1700s when macarons experienced a rise in popularity from the public.
It’s said that two Carmelite nuns, who sought asylum in eastern France during the French revolution, began baking “Nancy Macarons” or “priest’s bellybuttons” and sold them to survive.
The nuns quickly became well-known and people hailed them as “The Macarons Sisters.”
However, this historical version of macarons is far different from the scrumptious delight we enjoy today.
The story of modern macarons emerged in the middle of the 19th century in Laduree, a luxury patisserie in Paris.
Chef Pierre Desfontaines, the grandson of the founder of the famous Ladurée Tea Rooms, takes the cookie up a notch by uniting two macaron shells with a delectable ganache filling.
However, others argue that the real creator of the modern macarons (originally named Gerbert) was Claude Gerbet, another patisserie baker—coincidence?
But one thing is for sure, this sweet treat is truly heavenly and worth fighting for.
What do macarons taste like?
It’s worth noting that the meringue cookies have a wide range of flavors so expect that their taste depends on the ingredients you included in the recipe.
However, they should have a nice, lingering sweetness and slight nuttiness coming from the almond flour (or ground almond).
As per the texture, fresh macarons feature a bit dry outside and chewy inside.
Today, pastry chefs throughout the globe experiment with different flavors and have their own version of the macarons.
The popular choices are chocolate, coconut, pistachio, and almond, but some unusual flavors, such as pumpkin, maple bacon, chestnut, mint, and cinnamon, are making rounds right now.
Why are macarons so expensive?
If you are hoping to buy bakery-shop macarons that are cheap, you should stop because I’m sorry to say but you won’t find any anywhere.
You see, macarons are more expensive than other sweet treats.
This is because of the costly ingredients added, almond flour is more expensive then most flours, which is one of the key ingredients.
The process of making it is a bit complicated and tricky to most people, not to mention the systematic stirring, precise piping, and the rounds of waiting.
How to store macarons
The biggest tip for storing macarons is to ensure that you let them cool at room temperature before sliding them into the fridge.
If they’re freshly baked, never take them off the pan or baking sheet immediately as this can cause them to crack and fall apart.
Once completely cool, fill them with a creamy filling and then store.
This method is suitable if you’re not going to be eating all your macarons in a single day because they don’t last that long when left out in room temperature.
Here’s how to do it:
- Airtight container
- Parchment paper
Instructions for storing macarons in the refrigerator:
- Place a layer of parchment paper into the airtight container.
- Carefully place macarons onto the parchment paper in a single layer.
- Cover them tightly with a lid to keep as much air out as possible so that they don’t dry out.
- Put the container on the center shelf of the refrigerator.
If you’re wondering how long do macarons last when stored this way, well—they should stay fresh for up to three days in the fridge.
Macarons are a delightful and treasured dessert that you should try and make with your friends or the whole family.
They’re cutely packed with a nutty taste and full of sweetness!
Not only the treat is rich in flavor, but its history is as well.
Plus, the French cookie comes in a vast variety of flavors, meaning you’ll be able to experience an endless amount of indulgence. Oh my!
Once you have tried a macaron, maybe you will understand and see why these delicious tiny treats have become such a fan favorite to so many people.
And, there’s no such thing as eating just one macaron, soon you will be grabbing handfuls of these sweet yummy cookies uncontrollably.
So, tell us, what’s your favorite flavor of macarons and why? Feel free to share it in the comment section below!