Our Favorite Places posted by Nantucket Staff

I say potato, you say potahto. I say tomato, you say tomahto. Amond, almond? Pecan, pecon? Word pronunciation can make for an interesting debate, and surprisingly, can turn heated quickly.  But this is not about a phonetics war, this is about cookies: the macaroon and the macaron. Sometimes these two names are used interchangeably, but this is not a pronuncation discrepancy nor they are not alternate spellings for one another! (Even while writing this, spell check is telling me that “macaron” needs another “o”!!)  They are very different sweets – both confectionary delights, but it’s high time to set the record straight with the help of my favorite Chico bakery, Tin Roof.  

With Tin Roof right next door to our showroom, we all indulge weekly – whether it’s a fresh salad, iced chai, or one (or TWO!) of their yummy sweets, among which you will find both the macaroons and macarons. 

The macaron, originated from France

The macaron specially refers to a meringue-based cookie made with almond flour, egg whites, and sugar (both granulated and powdered), then filled with buttercream, ganache or fruit spread. Made in small rounds, these cookies are crisp on the outside, but smooth and soft in the middle, and come in almost any color imaginable.  Of course, to add to the confusion, it’s often called a French macaroon.

The macaroon, originated from Italy or France

The macaroon is actually a generic phrase applied to a number of small, sweet confections and can differ regionally.  A macaroon in Scotland is very different from one in the United States, which is very different from one in Turkey, etc.  The original macaroon was described as a “small sweet cake consisting largely of ground almonds” – very similar to the Italian amaretti.  The term is now most commonly equated with the coconut macaroon, which is made of egg whites, sugar, and coconut, and is oftentimes served dipped in chocolate.  Because this dense and moist cookie is flourless and not leavened, it becomes very popular treat during Passover.

Your challenge: go to Tin Roof (I know – suffer suffer), ask for a macaROON and a macaRON, and enjoy!  Which do you prefer?

You can bring some by Nantucket Home if you want!  Sharing is caring, and that’s always fun!

Sarah Leigh

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