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Can anyone explain to me the difference between French, Italian, and American macaroons?
I've checked The Baker's Manual, The Professional Pastry Chef and upteen other books, but the terms refer to a different technique in every book. There seems to be no clear definition of the national styles.
Any help deBord? other pastry chefs?
 

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From the Larousse Gastronomique

Small round cake crunchy on the outside and moist inside, made from ground almonds and egg whites often perfume with vanilla, chocolate, coffee, pistachio, strawberry, etc.

The origin of this cake is quite old. The recipe is said to have originated from Italy, Venice, in the Renaissance. The word macaron comes from the Italian Maccherone meaning fine dough. Some authors believe it comes from the macarons de Cormery, made in cloister in 791, the legend said they had the shape of a monk's belly.

Many French towns claim the macarons as their own. To name a few, macarons de Montmorillon, shape like little crowns and sold still sticking to the baking paper, de Niort, perfume with angelica, Reims, Pau, Amiens, Melun and Nancy.

The macaron made in Nancy were very renowned in the XVII. The were made by nuns who were following the teaching of Sainte Thérèse d'Avila: Almonds are good for girls who do not eat meat.

During the revolution, two nuns, hiding, specialised themselves in the making of macarons and became known as Soeurs macarons. That name was later given to the street where they lived and you still find shop where they continue to make macarons to this day.
 

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Well this is how I think of the three...French macaroons are always almond based with either almond paste or flour, two are sandwiched together with a filling to make one cookie. American macaroons are made with coconut and not filled. Italian macaroons...to me are almond based with pine nuts ontop or armoretti (I can't spell) that are a bit more cakelike then the french version and not filled.

They all have egg whites in common as their binder and leavening agent, but that's it. :D
 
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