I was a bit mind blown today. I’ve always known that there were two types of macaroons – the coconut kind which are sweet little yellow drops of shredded coconut and….
…the ever so popular sweet mini sandwich-like French macaroons which are two cookies filled with cream.
People often confuse the two, but they are nothing alike. The former is made of coconut and the latter is a sweet confectionery treat made of almond flour and comes in a rainbow of colours and flavours (pistachio, strawberry, chocolate, vanilla, etc.). However, I just recently learned about the Middle Eastern version of a macaroon which also takes on the same name (also known as makarouns, mak’karons, zanaib fingers, etc.). It doesn’t resemble the coconut version or the sandwiched version in either taste or appearance and unlike the first two it is deep fried, not baked.
The Middle Eastern macaroon is an anise flavoured treat that is made of semolina flour and somewhat resembles a pine cone. The pattern comes from squishing the raw dough onto a wired rack or grater (though I’m sure there are many other methods out there). It is crisp on the outside, yet soft on the inside and just crumbles in your mouth when you bite into it. The anise gives the cookie an interesting sweet licorice flavour and it is doused in a sweet syrup or honey. I personally fell in love with these at first bite. Even though I don’t normally like licorice, the sweetness of the syrup toned down the anise and produced a wonderfully balanced taste of the combined flavours. If you ever come across these, give it a try and let me know what you think. 🙂