French Cooking Class: The History of Macarons
Macarons – not to be confused with American macaroons, which are made with coconut – have a long history, and today the ubiquitous treats brighten up bakery and pastry shop fronts throughout France and beyond. Discover how to create these special cookies, made with sugar, egg, and almonds, during a French cooking class or culinary vacation, such as during a dessert or pastry class in Paris.
Macarons are one of our favorite types of cookie. They are basically two pieces of meringue paired together and filled to form a little cookie “sandwich.” The meringues themselves are soft, chewy, and melt-in-your-mouth, while the filling can be any number of things.
The history of the dessert actually started in Italy, as the pastry chefs of Catherine di Medici brought the confection to France around 1533. Back then, the treat was simply an almond cookie with no filling. Over the years the recipe spread, and nuns began to produce them as a way to generate revenue for their convents.
It wasn’t until the early 1900s that Laudurée pastry shop and tea salon popularized the almond cookie by adding a ganache filling. Today, as evidenced by all the bright colors, the cookies come in a plethora of delicious flavors. From the crisp outside, to the soft and smooth filling, a trip to France is not complete without a macaron!
Check out our video on how to make almond macarons:
Learn more about this sweet treat by enjoying a cooking vacation in France, including:
By Liz SanFilippo Hall
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Originally published February 14, 2013.