The Anatomy of the Macaron
Despite being a lover of the bold-coloured Macaron, I’m rather unacquainted with its history and anatomy. As far as I can tell, the only thing I really know about The Macaron is how tasty it is. To therefore dip my toes in and get my feet wet, I decided to adopt an approach like in our previous article—The Anatomy of Tiramisu—and embark on a journey down the the Macaron heritage lane, while diving into its anatomy and doing some window-shopping with local bakers.
The Anatomy of the Macaron
Delicately encased in crunchy almond meringue shells, chewy foots, and silky filling, macarons are the perfect bite-sized treat that simply melt away on your tongue. While the filling can range from ganache, buttercream, or jam, modern macarons have adopted unconventional and wild-ranging flavours. One that caught my attention was foie gras, which, shed of its fancy name, is better known as duck or goose liver. Out of morbid curiosity, I am quite keen on trying it! But before doing so, maybe I’ll get my loved ones to do a taste-test for me.
Aside from being palatable and gentle on the taste buds, the circular tops of macarons can morph into the perfect design, colour, and shape that are a perfect complement for any season. With such versatility, The Macaron never goes out of style.
Origins of the Macaron
Macarons have a confusing history, and technically speaking, there isn’t the ‘first sighting’ or concrete date to pinpoint its inception. Nonetheless, based on extant knowledge, the first proper macarons date back to the 16th century. Back then, after Catherine de’ Medici married Henry II of France in 1533, she also imported the single-cookie Italian macaron recipe into the country. Following that, the macaron rose to prominence in 1792, where a pair of nuns were selling double-layered macarons to raise housing funds. These remained plain until the 19th century came knocking, where these macarons were then bumped up to contain tasty fillings. Today, macarons are known far-and-wide for being a perfect snack during breaks. Depending on the time of day, they can be paired with afternoon tea or evening champagne. Some stores—like the Amorino Gelato in Paris—also use macarons in complement with gelato. Fun Facts about the Macaron
- ‘Macaron’ is derived from ‘macaroni,’ which means fine dough. Too bad they don’t seem to be similar to the macaroni we all know and love. Speaking of names, ‘macaron’ is awfully similar to the current French President’s last name, Emmanuel Macron.
- World Macaron Day falls on 20th March every year! This coincides with World Happiness Day, which probably explains why macarons—particularly rainbow-coloured ones—make me so ebullient.
- The Macaron is notoriously demanding when it comes to precision. Among its parts, the meringue shells are the most delicate, as during the preparation process, the egg whites are most susceptible to ‘ageing.’ When therefore left to sit for too long or beaten to the wrong consistency, the baked shells may come out dull, cracked, bumpy, or broken. Even the type of colouring used—liquid or powder—matters. (Hint: Powder is better able to tough it out since it doesn’t alter the batter consistency as much.)
- Though macarons appear deceptively identical to smaller and crunchier hamburgers, they’re classified as sandwich cookies. This is highly disturbing.
Some of our home-bake macaron businesses
Given their petite shape, size, and decorative appearances, macarons can be the perfect door gift to complement the season of winking fairy lights and door-to-door chorales. So while you’re here, let’s take a look at some of these local lovelies.
Think Christmas, and I’m sure that red, green, and white are the mainstay colours we associate with this season. At @thecrashbaker, these vibrant shades are smoothly incorporated into their specially-curated Christmas menu of tiramisu, peppermint vanilla, eggnog pumpkin pie, and toffee latte macarons. Currently, pre-orders are open for delivery between 21-24 December, so chow down on some of their bakes to properly usher in the festive cheer!
Christmas often conjures images of wintry weather and snow-peaked mountains. Unfortunately, Singapore’s tropical climate leaves much to be desired. This time, with @n3tt3works and their paper-white macarons coated with matcha, chocolate ganache, or salted caramel buttercream, perhaps we may live out the Winter Wonderland fantasy (albeit through macarons). You can even purchase these macarons as part of their Christmas Bundle Box!
If you’re still on the lookout for off-season macarons, @littlenibbles.sg is a mighty good alternative for finding year-round flavours like matcha, oreo, black sesame, cheese, and caramel. They also feature the iconic Biscoff Lotus biscuit flavours that many of us have come to love.
Note of caution
With a word for the wiser, don’t be too liberal with your gifting. Macaron sets may not be too suitable for family and friends who are allergic to almonds, which are ubiquitous ingredients of the meringue shells in most macarons. (Feel free to be liberal if you’re giving it to me, though. Just the thought of them makes me salivate…)
The macaron’s not the first to be thoroughly dissected and expounded upon–—check out our other Anatomy article as well! Otherwise, head on down to our Instagram page to discover more homegrown businesses.