Macaroons Versus Macarons: An Almost Guilt-free All-nut and Chocolate Version

“You don’t have to cook fancy or complicated masterpieces – just good food from fresh ingredients.” Julia Child

Think of macaroons one will recall  sweet lumps of  shredded or ground nuts with a golden crust. Thinking of vibrantly colored airy meringue sandwiches equaling a Parisian Kiss, one actually refers to macarons. Though these cookies share similar names, they look and taste very different; they do, however, share a similar past. Macaroons history can be traced back to Italy, where the flourless and unleavened cookies were originally made with almond paste that are, in Italian,  called amaretti. Some inventive bakers swapped the almond paste for shredded coconut or other nut pastes, also trying to use finely ground, flour-like almonds. The coconut-flavoured version became really popular with the European Jewish community, as the cookie was a perfect treat for Passover due to its unleavened nature. The version made with ground almonds was developed in the French court by chefs that the  Henry’s (the second son of King Francis I and Queen Claude of France) Italian wife, Catherine de Medici, brought from Italy. The ingredients, steps of both recipes are basically the same: egg whites, sugar and either ground almonds or shredded coconut. However, when baked and compared, the two cookies are completely different: the chewy sweet macaroons provide a nice bite to perfectly accompany a cup of coffee as opposed to the crispy meringue-like French macaron that  is a unique treat. But, undeniably, both perfect…

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“…nothing is too much trouble if it turns out the way it should.”  Julia Child

Ingredients
2 egg whites
16 g granulated sweetener
4 tsp chocolate extract
50 g ground walnut
50 g ground almond
50 g ground macadamia nut
15 g rice flour
Halved macadamia nuts
For the decoration
250 g dark chocolate, melted

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Method
Whisk the egg whites until stiff then whisk in the sweetener and chocolate extract. Stir in the ground nuts and ground rice and mix together. Using hands, shape mixture into twenty balls (the size of a small walnut) and press into domed discs. Press a split macadamia nut into the center of each disc and place on a baking sheet lined with silicone paper. Bake in a pre-heated moderate oven at 180 degrees C for about 15 minutes or until light golden. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the baking sheets.
Put the chocolate in a small bowl and place over a pan of simmering water until melted. Dip the bottom of the macaroons in the chocolate, place on baking sheet and finally drizzle the excess chocolate on the top of the cookies.

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“It’s so beautifully arranged on the plate – you know someone’s fingers have been all over it.”  Julia Child

11 thoughts on “Macaroons Versus Macarons: An Almost Guilt-free All-nut and Chocolate Version

  1. Thank you Judit… I’ve learnt a new interesting thing about Caterina de Medici ( I come from Florence, this is way I’m so sensible to “her charme”). I would like to have your biscuits next to me…

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