It's a little niggle, really - the matter of a single letter. It's only become an issue in the last couple of years, with a bit of a foodie trend sweeping through the baking world. The issue is the differentiation between macarons and macaroons - see, very similar in name. They are also similar in that both are types of cookie, small dainty morsels, and both use egg whites and are generally gluten free. But then a line must be drawn. The macaron (shown on the left below) is the trendy one - you know, the cute, multicoloured confections, baked as two shells and filled with buttercream or ganache.
The macaroon (on the right) is the classic coconut confection, the less refined but still delicious and much simpler to make. If you want to split hairs the name was derived from the same word and might as well be the same, but the convention has predominently been to use the French spelling (macaron) for the prior version, to differentiate. Lately, though, I've noticed a couple of uses of the double o version for the pretty variety, which is my niggle - it's confusing! So I thought I'd straighten things out by making some macaroons. ;-)
It's a simple recipe - four ingredients, and if you consider coconut a pantry staple (I do) you'll probably have them all on hand.
It's definitely a kid-friendly recipe - as well as the simple ingredient list, the method is very straightforward. Separating eggs is the most difficult part by far. And as an added bonus you get to squelch your hands around in the mixture to make the cookies, and we all know that kids (and big kids!) like an excuse to nibble on unbaked cookie. ;-)
I've most often seen these as little mounds, often with a pointed top. I made one tray like that, and one where I rolled the mixture into balls.
I have also made flat versions in the base of muffin tins, to act as a serving device (sort of like a little cup) for coconut ice-cream for a dinner party - you can play around with these to suit your purpose.
Tell me, do you ever get irritated by silly little things like my macaron/macaroon issue?
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups coconut
2 egg whites
1 tsp vanilla essence
Preheat oven to 180 C and line a baking tray with baking paper. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix until you can form a ball in your hand. Place balls or mounds of the mixture on the baking paper and bake for 14-17 minutes, or until golden brown. Dip in chocolate once cool if desired. Makes about 15.