Currently enjoying a popularity surge in the United States, macarons are a staple in French pastry shops. Many confuse them with macaroons, which, while also delicious, are made with coconut and are chewy. Macarons are made with egg whites (meringues), ground almonds and sugar. These petite treats are a favorite snack to pair with a mid-afternoon cup of coffee or tea.
Macarons sort of look like tiny hamburgers -- two pieces of sweet meringue glued together with a creamy center. Pastry chefs get very creative with the fillings. You'll see chocolate ganache, lemon, pistachio, fruit purée, violet, and even off-the-wall fillings like violet or foie gras. Macarons really allow a baker to be inventive!