Macarons (pronounced: ma-ca-rones) are not the same cookie as macaroons (pronounced: ma-ca-roons.)
Macaroons have been a part of American cookie cookery for decades. They are made by folding shredded coconut into a base of egg whites and sugar whipped until very stiff. The batter is then dropped onto a baking sheet by spoonsful and baked into a little haystack. They may be dipped in chocolate once baked.
Macarons come to us from fine French patisseries. It starts off the same way as macaroons with egg whites and sugar whipped until stiff. But then a combination of powdered sugar and almond flour (or finely ground almonds) is folded into it. The resulting batter is then piped into exact circles and the tops of half of them gently smoothed with a finger dipped in water. Once baked, the tops and bottoms are combined in a sandwich with a flavored buttercream inside. By the way, the cookies are even more elegant if the dough is colored with food coloring to match the flavor of buttercream . . yellow for lemon, green for mint, etc. SWMBO found that chilling the sandwich cookies helped to set up the buttercream a bit.
This was her first attempt and they're not perfect by French standards but they're pretty darned good and she learned a few things about making them.
They're a little crunchy, a little chewy and a lot delicious!