Macaroon vs. macaron. Chunky coconut cookie vs. sophisticated French cookie. These desserts strike me as so different it is hard to believe, but they actually share a common ancestor. Both started out in Italy as flourless, unleavened cookies made from almond paste. Then the evolution of the cookie split and took two simultaneous paths. One path resulted in the substitution of shredded coconut for almond paste. The other resulted in ground almond flour instead of almond paste.
The words both have their roots in ammaccare, which is Italian for “to crush”. And if you think about it they aren’t so different from one another. Both are meringue based and chewy deliciousness.