The earliest records for the base of the macaron cookie recipe dates back to the Renaissance. Its origins in Arabic countries, such as Syria (which still is today one of the top 10 exporters of almonds), because of the "Age of Exploration and Discovery", which is the time when Europeans explored the world.
Origins of the "Macaron" name
The word "macaron" comes from the Italian word "macaroni" or "maccherone". According to "Les Origines de la Langue Francaise", it is defined as "a pasta dish with cheese'". Indeed, the word macaron was used on an egg-based pasta dish, but also as the well known cookie which was prepared with a similar recipe but adding almonds. These macarons were more similar to a marzipan though than a cookie. The name came about because almond paste was the main ingredient in this ancient macarons. This almond paste was introduced initially to Italy "near the year 1500" (Museum of macaron, Monmorillon). It remains as a dry cookie which was consumed more as a food product than a dessert.
"Birth of the "French Macaron
"Thereafter in France, variations of macarons were born. Reims, Nancy, Saint-Jean-de-Luz, Châteaulin, Boulay, Montmorillon and Amiens went on to develop their own recipes in their own way and made this small almond cookie their gourmet specialty.Evolution of the MacaronFirst, a macaron was just single almond cookie, crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside. In the 1830s, macaron shelves were assembled two by two, topped with jam, spices or liquors. The brightly colored macarons we so often see today didn't look like that at all in the past. In the 1890's, Pierre Desfontaines, second cousin to Louis Ernest Laduree, began sandwiching the two cookies around butter crème, jam, compote or ganache.