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Food & Drink

Macaron or Macaroon? Who cares, we love both

Mary Pickels
| Tuesday, March 13, 2018, 9:54 a.m.
Rose macaron from Macaron Bar Pittsburgh.
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Rose macaron from Macaron Bar Pittsburgh.
In this 2016, photo, Bob Colaianne Jr., a baker for more than 70 years, creates macaroons at Dainty Pastry Shoppe in Latrobe.
Steph Chambers | Tribune-Review
In this 2016, photo, Bob Colaianne Jr., a baker for more than 70 years, creates macaroons at Dainty Pastry Shoppe in Latrobe.
Master pastry chef David Piquard prepares macarons at Gaby & Jules Patisserie & Macarons in Squirrel Hill, in this 2013 photo.
Keith Hodan | Tribune-Review
Master pastry chef David Piquard prepares macarons at Gaby & Jules Patisserie & Macarons in Squirrel Hill, in this 2013 photo.
Birthday cake macaron at Macaron Bar.
ANJALI FONG PHOTOGRAPHY
Birthday cake macaron at Macaron Bar.
Razzelberry macaron from the Oakmont Bakery.
Oakmont Bakery Facebook
Razzelberry macaron from the Oakmont Bakery.
Macaron vs. macaroon - crunchy meringue and creamy filling (macaron) or sweet, chewy coconut (macaroon), that (and an extra 'o') is the difference.
Tasteofhome.com
Macaron vs. macaroon - crunchy meringue and creamy filling (macaron) or sweet, chewy coconut (macaroon), that (and an extra 'o') is the difference.
Hot chocolate macarons at Gaby et Jules Patisseries et Macarons.
gabyetjules.com
Hot chocolate macarons at Gaby et Jules Patisseries et Macarons.
Chocolate-dipped macaroons, for those who like their 'm-word' cookies with an extra 'o' - and coconut.
realsimple.com
Chocolate-dipped macaroons, for those who like their 'm-word' cookies with an extra 'o' - and coconut.
La Gourmandine will participate in this year's Macaron Day Pittsburgh.
Facebook
La Gourmandine will participate in this year's Macaron Day Pittsburgh.
Customized macarons from Bella Christie and Lil  Z's.
Facebook
Customized macarons from Bella Christie and Lil Z's.
An array of colorful macarons at Jean-Marc Chatellier's French Bakery.
Facebook
An array of colorful macarons at Jean-Marc Chatellier's French Bakery.

Depending on whether it's a petite meringue sandwich, often pastel in color, or a mound of chewy coconut, that delicious sweet treat may be a macaron, or it may be a macaroon.

And confusing the two can lead to a very different confectionery outcome.

Macarons, one should know, had their beginnings in Italy, but credit appears to go to the French when topping one macaron with a filling, often ganache, buttercream or fruit, and capping it with a second shell, according to blog.delivery.com

Macaroons, typically made with coconut and egg white (an ingredient common to both cookies) can also include nuts or nut paste, and often are served for dessert at Passover celebrations because they usually don't contain flour or leavening agents, according to chowhound.com

But there need be no battle over that extra "o." Macarons and macaroons have their lovers and their detractors and, as it turns out, they each have a day of their own.

Macaron Day is fast approaching, and will be observed on March 20, with several Pittsburgh-area bakeries participating.

According to its website, Macaron Day is the brainchild of Pierre Hermé, who declared the first "Jour du Macaron" in 2005, spotlighting the popular French pastry and raising money for charity.

Macaron Day is now celebrated in many big cities, from Paris to New York to Pittsburgh, with free samples benefitting particular charities.

Macaron Day returns to Pittsburgh following a successful debut in 2017, with French bakeries in the city offering visitors on March 20 a free macaron and a chance to fight local hunger.

Participating bakeries will offer one complimentary macaron to each guest. However, 10 percent of that day's macaron purchases will be contributed to the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank.

Cookies for a cause

Gaby et Jules Patisseries et Macarons owners chef David Piquard and Fred and Lori Rongier are organizing Pittsburgh's Macaron Day.

After observing Macaron Day for the last three years, they reached out to other bakeries last year to create the first coordinated city-wide initiative.

"We wanted this great event to have a bigger impact for the Food Bank, so we began inviting our fellow macaron bakers to join with us. This is a great way for us to help in our community and have a lot of fun with our customers and fellow bakers at the same time," co-owner Lori Rongier says in a release.

"Macaron Day is getting bigger every year, and we hope everyone will come out and help us make this another great Pittsburgh tradition," Fred Rongier, adds in the release.

The release notes that macarons, made properly in the French tradition, take three days of preparation, including drying, baking, filling, and freezing to achieve the proper consistency: shells slightly crisp on the outside, chewy and soft on the inside, melded with the creamy filling inside, and infused with delicate flavor.

And if it's macaroons, those delightfully sticky, coconutty mounds, sometimes dipped in chocolate or topped with a maraschino cherry, you crave, your day will come — on May 31.

Still confused? This tweet from 2017 might help.

No word on any freebies yet, but you can find a recipe for making classic macaroons here .

Mary Pickels is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 724-836-5401 or mpickels@tribweb.com or via Twitter @MaryPickels.

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