Having grown up with the common garden variety of English macaroon, the type you can use as a doorstep, heavy with sugar and even heavier with coconut, the French-style macaroons eaten during the Regency period seem like a very different beast. Stiffly beaten egg white, whisked with boiling sugar and mixed with almond paste and all manners of delicious flavours, these little cakes look like heaven in a mouthful.
I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with meringues. I’ll make a whole tray full and they’ll be perfect; crisp and light with that delicious chewy bit in the middle, and then the next time the eggs sit at the bottom of the bowl and the prospect of ‘soft peaks’ is just a joke. A bit of yolk in the mix, a less than scrupulously clean bowl or just plain sulky egg whites, I don’t know. Perhaps it’s simply to make me appreciate those perfect meringues when it does go right. Or maybe those are the days I should have gone for the doorstops.
Here is an extract from Braving Madness where Edward has discovers an unexpected treat.
Edward slumped against the cold wall and allowed his hands to drift to his coat-pocket which were filled with… cakes? It had been an eventful evening. He pulled out two slightly crumbling macaroons, both carefully wrapped in cloth. On closer inspection it turned out to be his cravat. He should have guessed.
“Macaroon?” He held out a cake to her. “I’ve heard sugar is supposed to be good for shock.”
Her eyebrows lifted but her hand shot out to take the offering. “You carry them around with you?”
“What can I say? I was peckish. Bride hunting does that to a man.” It could be true. There were a few points in the evening that he was a bit vague about.