There is little more to marzipan than sugar, almonds, rose water, and almonds extract (if you’re feeling fancy like me). Yet, how those ingredients are mixed (and then coaxed into bakes, cakes, and shapes) makes it a must-try recipe.
Often called the play-dough of baking, homemade marzipan scented with a drop or two of rose water transforms prosaic treats into extraordinary.
What is marzipan made of?
Marzipan is made by mixing icing sugar with ground almonds until a thick, smooth, and pliable paste forms. That’s the basic recipe and it has endless variation depending upon which corner of the world you call home.
In France, sweetening syrups are used. In the Middle East, a splash of rose water is a must. And if you’re in Goa, India, the whole thing is made of cashews.
What’s the difference between marzipan and almond paste?
Both almond paste and marzipan combine sugar and almonds in some form. So, the differences between the two are nuanced. One that is immediately obvious is rose water. Most marzipan recipes use the aromatic to lend it a floral undernote.
- Consistency: Marzipan is firmer and smoother. Almond paste is softer and coarser.
- Sweetness: The ratio of almond to sugar is higher in almond paste, which makes it slightly less sweet than marzipan.
- Taste: Marzipan has a delicate flavor, while almond paste is deeper and nuttier.
- Use: Marzipan is typically used as cake decorative, and to make candies and truffles. Almond paste is used as a filling in baked goods.
I would like to clarify here that the marzipan recipes do change from country to country. The German counterpart is very similar to almond paste since it uses less sugar. In the UK, almond paste and marzipan are almost synonymous. So, don’t be bound by technicalities, and feel free to experiment.
Can you eat raw marzipan?
The traditional marzipan recipe does use egg whites. While it is raw, there is no yolk involved, which means there’s no salmonella risk. So, you can eat raw marzipan, as long as you’re not allergic to eggs.
If you’re using my homemade marzipan recipe, then you can definitely have it raw because I keep it vegan, skipping the egg whites completely.
How to make marzipan at home?
Homemade marzipan can be made of either almond meal/flour or ground-blanched almonds. Obviously, almond meal is far more convenient and, not to say, it gives a smoother feel to the end result.
But I didn’t have any at hand (nor was I ready to wait for it to be delivered). So, my recipe has blanched and ground almonds, which is why the marzipan had a touch of texture to it. That we, nonetheless, loved.
How do you blanch almonds easily?
Blanching almonds means removing the papery brown skin of the nuts. It’s a process that most of us find utterly tedious, which it very well is, but it can be made easier.
- I suggest steeping the nuts in boiling water for a few minutes or so.
- Then simply pinch each almond between your fingers and the skin will pop off.
Homemade marzipan recipe:
- Wait for the blanched almonds to dry completely. This is very important.
- Then grind them into a powder.
- Add icing sugar and pulse again. A food processor is the best choice here, but a coffee/ masala grinder (what I used) works just as well.
- When the mixture has a wet sand like texture, add rose water and almond extract. you may need to add a tablespoon of water at this point.
- Blitz again to combine all ingredients till they form a firm lump.
- Place the lump on your prep area and knead it a few times. About 30 seconds should give you a smooth, satiny marzipan.
- Shape it into a log, cover tightly in cling wrap and refrigerate.
Is rose water or almond extract an essential ingredient in marzipan?
No, it is not. But I would highly recommend both. Scenting it with rose water and lacing it with almond extract takes the flavor of the marzipan up a notch.
If you are using rose water, please get the best quality possible. It will make all the difference. Also, it has to be food grade.
Stick to pure almond extract, don’t substitute it with almond flavoring. It doesn’t give the same result.
How do you fix wet marzipan?
Add some more almond meal/flour or the blanched almonds you ground, keeping in mind that marzipan firms up as it chills. If the mixture feels dry to you, use a tablespoon or two of water to correct the consistency.
How long does marzipan last in fridge?
If you keep it well wrapped in the refrigerator, this homemade marzipan will last you about 2 weeks.
How can you use marzipan?
Tucked in chocolates, hiding in galettes, molded in decorative shapes, you can use marzipan in hundreds of ways.
- Cakes: Because it is so malleable, you can use it as a covering for cakes.
- Truffles: Roll the marzipan in balls and dip them in dark chocolate
- Candies: Whisk in food coloring and shape into any form.
- Confections: Incorporate marzipan into any of your festive season bakes to make them sweeter and nuttier.
- Figurines: Roll, cut or mold the marzipan to make holiday cookies or pastries in all sorts of edible designs.
- Pies and galettes: Spread it on the pastry base of a pie or galette, particularly if you’re baking with stone fruits.
Try my homemade marzipan recipe. It’s:
No cooking or baking involved
Perfect project to cook with kids
Cheaper than store-bought
Excellent ingredient for treats and bakes
In love with almonds? Then you’d want to try:
Homemade Marzipan Recipe
- 1 cup/ 160 gms Almonds, blanched, peeled, and dried
- 1/2 cup/ 40 gms Icing sugar
- 1/2 tsp Almond extract
- 1 tsp Rosewater
- 2-3 tbsp Water
- Grind the dried, blanched almonds in a food processor.
- Once they are powdered, add the icing sugar.
- Pulse until the mixture has a wet sand-like texture, add rose water and almond extract. Add in 1 tablespoon of water at this stage if the mixture seems too dry.
- Blitz again to combine all ingredients till they form a firm lump
- Add more almond meal if the mixture seems too wet. Add more water if it seems too dry.
- Place the mixture on your prep area and knead it a few times. About 30 seconds should give you a smooth, satiny marzipan.
- Shape it into a log, cover tightly in cling wrap, and refrigerate.
- Let it chill for an hour or so before using. It will firm up more once refrigerated. This will last about 2 weeks in the refrigerator.