What are French Macarons?
What are Macarons? Here's a little introduction from Sweet Darling Patisserie
Macaroons are commonly known here in the US to be delicious chewy shredded coconut cookies.
French Macarons are slightly different. Macarons are a butter-creamed filled cookie sandwich that transport you to a cobbled street in Paris with one taste. They are magical, dainty, chic, stylish and delicious in equal measure.
Rather than their Macaroon counterparts, French Macarons are made primarily with almond flour and sugar, making them naturally gluten free!
They can be fickle to make though, you have to get everything right. The mix is vital – too sugary and they will be crispy, too almond floury and they will be too cake-like. It’s all in the mix!
A Brief History of Macarons
Macarons have a slightly unclear history, they are thought to have been brought to France around 1533 by Catherine di Medici and her pastry chefs. The medici family was one of the most powerful families in Europe and their name is synonymous with the fineries of the Italian Renaissance, so no surprise that they had exquisite tastes in pastries too!
They gained more notoriety in 1792 when two Carmelite nuns seeking asylum in Nancy during the French Revolution baked and sold macarons in order to support themselves (sounds familiar!). They were known as the ‘Macaron Sisters’.
These macarons tended to be closer to what we would think of as a cookie, single deckers with no filling, but nevertheless made using almond flour and sugar as is still done today.
Around 1900 Pierre Desfontaines of the famous Patisserie Ladurée in Paris is thought to have put a ganache filling into a double decker, more akin to what Sweet Darling makes today. There is also a claim by another Parisian baker, Claude Gerbet that he invented them as apparently the cookie was commonly referred to as a Gerbet back in the day.
Maison Ladurée still exists to this day serving all manner of delicious macarons all over the world. This is where Sweet Darling head chefs, Sarah and James first tried theirs and fell in love, with the cookie and with each other.
So now you know a little about Macarons and where they come from! If you’d like to find out more then check out these pages:
Lovely potted history:
Everything you ever wanted to know and then some:
A bit more about the founding house Ladurée: