Several well-meaning and generally, well-informed friends have challenged me on the difference between a “macaron” and a ” macaroon”. I wasn’t sure myself at the outset, and we’ve certainly had some good-natured debates about it at home. My Oxford English dictionary defines a macaroon as ” a small light cake or biscuit made with white of egg, sugar and ground almonds or coconut” – the same simple ingredients required to make the somewhat more sophisticated macaron. It stands to reason, therefore, that the difference must be in the recipe and the all-important technique – the macaronage – that appears to be second nature to french pastry chefs. My first, naive attempt at baking macarons certainly resulted in something more akin to a chunky, almond biscuit! A slightly wicked thought – but I can’t help wondering if the English macaroon evolved from the failure of yester-year cooks to master the Parisian macaron.