Let me set one thing straight, no I did not spell macarons wrong; it is only one ‘o’ and not two like spell check is insisting I should be spelling it.
A macaroon is a small sweet cake consisting largely of ground almonds and coconut, similarly to Italian amaretti.
A macaron on the other hand is a cookie with a smooth squared top, ruffled circumference (the foot) and a flat base. Two of the cookies are sandwiched together with different flavors of ganache, buttercream or jams, and best of all come in a large variety of colors.
I definitely prefer the more colorful of the two, especially since the range flavors is so extensive today. The macaron allows for more creative interpretations like the two pictured below.