The macaroon, not to be confused with the French delicacy the macaron, is a coconut cookie usually seen in stores for Jewish holidays since they do not require a leavening agent. On May 31 everyone in the U.S. can get in on the celebration for National Macaroon Day!
While the cookies are perceived to be part of the Jewish culture, they originated in a monastery in Italy in the 9th century. The French almond pastry twist came in the early 1500s from the pastry chef of Catherine de Medici.
In India the macaroon is made with cashews instead of almonds or coconut, while in Spain they are made with hazelnuts and honey. In the Philippines they are made in the form of mini cupcakes instead of round cookies.
The basic recipe includes coconut, condensed milk, egg whites, vanilla and salt. Often they are drizzled in chocolate or have some mini chips tossed in.
Like matzo macaroons can get a bit tiresome when you “get” to eat them all the time. Here are some recipes that take the basic cookie up a notch.