macaroons until the 20th century, referred exclusively to small domed biscuit-like confections composed of sweet almonds, finely chopped, mixed with sugar and beaten egg whites, and baked lightly. They were home made or bought, as skill and necessity dictated. Mrs Beeton (1861) remarked at the end of her recipe for them that it did not cost much more to buy them from a good confectioner. ratafias were similar but usually contained a proportion of bitter almonds.
Macaroons were often served with wine or liqueurs as a light refreshment in the 18th and 19th centuries. They were also used in cookery, to provide texture and flavour in desserts and cakes. Typically, they were crushed and used in trifles; and used whole, as decorations and accompaniments for creams and syllabubs. Almond macaroons are used in this way.