[Sca-cooks] Macarons

Stefan li Rous StefanliRous at austin.rr.com
Sun Jul 18 19:58:26 PDT 2010

Shoshana asked:
<<< We are trying to find some additional period information on macarons - the
almond cookies from France.  All we seem to be able to determine is that
Catherine de Medici brought them with her.

If anyone has anything more informative we'd be grateful.>>>

Considering all the tales, later disproved, surrounding Catherine de Medici, I suspect there is little basis in her connection to these.

Do you mean "macaroons"? Doing a search on this in the Florilegium files several recipes described as being similar to macaroons in this file.
cookies-msg (80K) 11/13/07 Period cookies. Recipes.

for instance:
Date: Tue, 17 Feb 1998 22:15:30 +1100
From: Meliora & Drake <meliora at macquarie.matra.com.au>
Subject: SC - Almond Cookies

At 12:46 PM 16/02/98 -0800, Rebecca Tants wrote:

>The only completely non-period item (we'll skip lemonade for the moment)
>was the Almond Cookies.  They were AWESOME, but came from a nice Italian
>cookbook I have and can't be dated to prior then the turn of the century.
>They were, however, inexpensive, yummy and a good solution as I got
>frantic.  (Recipe for those is 11oz almonds, 1c plus 3T sugar, 1/2 t
>vanilla, 4 egg whites, pinch of salt.  Beat egg whites and salt to stiff
>peaks, process almonds and sugar together.  Fold almonds/sugar and vanilla
>into the egg whites, bake at 300 degrees for 30 minutes on greased cookie

Hi Rebecca,

There is a similar recipe in Elinor Fettiplace (1602 - so is definately
renaissance not medieval) which follows:

To make french biskit bread

Take one pound of almonds blanched in cold water, beat them verie smale, put
in some rose water to them, in the beating, wherein some musk hath lien,
then take one pound of sugar beaten and searced and beat with your almonds,
then take the whites or fowre eggs beten and put to the sugar & almonds,
then beat it well together, then heat the oven as hot as you doe for other
biskit bread, then take a paper & strawe some sugar upon it, & lay two
spoonfulls of the stuf in a place, then lay the paper upon a board full of
holes, & put them into the oven as fast as you can & so bake them, when they
begin to looke somewhat browne they are baked inough.  Elinor Fettiplace

Moden recipe by Spurling:
100g ground almonds
100g icing sugar
1 beaten egg white
little rosewater

Spurling tends to waffle a lot so the following is paraphrased:
Mix all ingredients together and bake as one large biscuit (the size of the
palm of your hand) in 180oC or 350oF oven for 35-45 mins.

Mel's Notes: I tend to make smaller maccaroons.  A double-sized batch
normally makes 20 biscuits.  I find that if I wet my hands with water or
rosewater while rolling the mixture into little balls, it gives the finished
macaroons a smooth shell.

I first thought to make this recipe because I does not contain flour and my
mother has Coeliac's Disease (cannot ingest gluten).  At the couple of
feasts I provided them at, they were a bit hit but are rather expensive to
make.  My mundane work still asks me to make these whenever we celebrate a
birthday though !!

Spurling, Hilary (1986) Elinor Fettiplace's Receipt Book, Penguin Books,
Available on order through any book store in paperback for around $Aust

Hope this helps you

Meliora de Curci
Politarchopolis, Lochac, The West

Date: Mon, 01 May 2000 11:24:42 -0400
From: Elaine Koogler <ekoogler at chesapeake.net>
Subject: Re: SC - [Fwd: [Shire X] Oh, My, so This is what they eat in CAID . . .   .]

CBlackwill at aol.com wrote:
> If you think this foul, please remember that ambergris was considered a
> "seasoning" in the Middle Ages... Particularly in China
> Balthazar of Blackmoor

I also found both ambergris and musk mentioned as ingredients for sweets in period in Europe.  I even tried to find some just to see how it would taste in a recipe that called for it.  I was unsuccessful, and decided simply to omit it, but believe that it probably added a unique taste.  One of these came from the
catalogue for the "Fooles and Fricassees" exhibit at the Folger here in DC.  An
appendix had an early 17th century cookbook by Sarah Longe.  I redacted it and
used it at an Elizabethan feast a couple of weeks ago:

p.  19, Mrs Sarah Longe her Receipt Booke [c. 1610] from Fooles and Fricassees:
Food in Shakespeare's England (Published by the Folger Shakespeare Library,
Washington, DC, 1999)

Take a pound of Almons, blanch them, then beate them in a morter [;] then put in a little rosewater to them, that they may not turn to an Oyle in their beating; when they are beaten very small take them up and put them into a Dish [;] then take half a pound of sugar beaten very small and put to them the whites of 4 Eggs, with a little Quantity of musk, and Ambergrease [;] then beat it altogether a quarter of an hour, then put it upon papers in what fashion you will.  You must be carefull in the making of it, that it be not coloured to[o] much.

Redaction: (makes about 4 1/2 dozen cookies)

2 cups blanched almonds
1/2 teaspoon rose water
1 cup sugar
4 egg whites
1/4 teaspoon almond extract

1.  Grind almonds in a mill or food processor.  Add the rosewater to keep them
from getting oily.
2.  Add sugar, egg whites and almond extract and blend thoroughly in the food
3.  Put teaspoonfuls of the batter onto a greased cookie sheet.
4.  Bake at 350 for about 15 minutes.  Be very careful to check the bottoms of the cookies as they tend to get too brown.  The cookies should be VERY lightly
ìcolouredî as the recipe above states.

I added almond extract to intensify the almond flavor.  This is a slightly
perfumed taste and would, I believe, approximate the ambergris and/or musk the
recipe called for.  I was unable to locate either of these ingredients.  Also,
I've heard differing opinions on the safety of cooking with these ingredients so
prefer to stay away from them.

People seemed to really like them...they came out as a sort of cross between
meringues and macaroons.



THLord Stefan li Rous    Barony of Bryn Gwlad    Kingdom of Ansteorra
   Mark S. Harris           Austin, Texas          StefanliRous at austin.rr.com
**** See Stefan's Florilegium files at:  http://www.florilegium.org ****

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