Coconut macaroons
Image credit: By Jessica from Hove, United Kingdom (Coconut macaroons) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Today is National Macaroon Day, which means it’s one day this year you’re most likely to be confused—or to confuse someone else—about a particular kind of cookie. To summarize my more detailed account, a macaroon (with two o’s) is a dense, chewy, unleavened cookie whose primary ingredient is shredded coconut. If you live in the United States, chances are you, your parents, and your grandparents, are all equally familiar with this treat. It is not, however, even slightly like the macaron, except insofar as both are cookies. If it looks like a colorful little hamburger—with smooth, rounded top and bottom and a ganache or jam filling—you are looking at a macaron, not a macaroon. You are permitted to eat either one today, but you are never permitted to refer to a macaron as a macaroon (or vice versa).