Thursday, June 19, 2014

Macaroni and Macaroons.

When I was a child growing up in the North of England, ‘macaroons’ were fairly solid, slightly chewy little cakes made from coconut, sugar, and eggs (whole or just whites) – or sometimes condensed milk and coconut for an easier but richer version – both types usually flavoured with vanilla and/or almond essence.

The currently trendy version of the macaroon – sometimes distinguished by the alternative spelling of macaron – is a melt-in-the-mouth meringue-type treat made from egg whites and sugar and ground almonds, and is available in a multitude of jewel colours and flavours.

The Oxford English Dictionary gives two uses of the word macaroon (various spellings.) The oldest, dating to medieval times, is the same as macaroni – a form of pasta, but not necessarily the short tubular form for which we use the word today. The second meaning is the more familiar “small sweet cake or biscuit consisting chiefly of ground almonds (or coconut), egg white, and sugar.”
So, macaroon/macaron (the cake) and macaroni (the pasta) have the same etymologic roots. Interesting, Yes?

I have given various recipes for macaroons in the past, including soybean macaroons and macaroons soufflé, but there is always room for another sweet treat, is there not?

No. 253.—Swedish Macaroons.
Ingredients: 12 oz. of shred almonds, 4 oz. of ground almonds, 4 oz. Brown and Poison's Indian corn flour, 1 lb. of fine sugar, two whole eggs, the zest or rind of two oranges rubbed on sugar.
Mix the whole of these ingredients in a basin until thoroughly incorporated, then roll out the paste or mixture in balls the size of a small walnut, place these upon sheet wafer laid out on baking sheets, push in the oven, moderate heat, and bake the swedes of a light colour.
No. 254.—Swedish Macaroons another way.
Prepare the paste as directed in the foregoing number, spread it out a quarter of an inch thick on sheet wafer laid out on baking sheets, push in the oven, moderate heat, bake of a light colour, and when done, and before they are cold, with a sharp tin cutter, stamp out the macaroons in the form of leaves, or crescents, bend these across a rolling pin, and when thoroughly cold and crisp, they may be removed and kept in a box in a dry temperature.

The royal English and foreign confectioner (1862) by Charles Elmé Francatelli.

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