What is marzipan?
Marzipan has been around for centuries and originated in the Middle East and Mediterranean countries. It can be made in a variety of ways, one of them is by boiling the ground almonds with sugar to crystallise the mixture. However you choose to make it, the key ingredients are sweetener, ground almonds and almond extract. I have seen it made using other nuts, such as pistachio, so I think you can mix it up as you like.
How do I shape it?
As you’ll see from the recipe below, there is no setting agent in this mixture, so it remains rather soft. For this reason, I wouldn’t recommend using a silicone mould unless you want to freeze it solid before removing. My preferred way is to either roll into a log and slice it, roll into balls or roll out into a square and cut into little rectangles. If you wanted to set it firm, you could add a little melted coconut oil or cocoa butter.
What other flavours work?
In this recipe I decided to keep it Chirstmassy and use orange essential oil. Bearing in mind the mixture is light blonde in colour, anything that contains colour will ‘taint’ this. For example, adding the orange zest turned the mixture a little orange. If I added cinnamon powder, it would colour it slightly brown and maybe give it some specks of brown. These are important factors to consider when altering the ingredients. With that said, I’d go for the traditional Rose Water, ginger in the form of either fresh ginger juice or crystallised ginger blixed into the dough, clove powder or essential oil would also be lovely as it pairs with almond, but also orange.
What about shelf life?
In this recipe, I use water to bind the mixture together, but if you replace that with additional maple syrup you’ll have a long shelf life product. Water is what shortens the shelf life of products, as well as oxygen. For this reason, coating them in chocolate is a great way to preserve them as it cuts off oxygen. If you store them in the fridge, water or no, they’ll keep about 3 weeks. Remove the water and you can store them at room temp for 1-2 months in an airtight container.
Does it have to be white chocolate?
Certainly not! I chose white chocolate because it lets the flavours shine and makes for a pretty coating. But dark chocolate and almond are soul mates, so that’s for sure a good way to go.
I’d rather not use xylitol/erythritol, what other options are there?
Basically, you want to stick with a neutral sweetener that isn’t going to add colour or flavour to the marzipan. So, you can do powdered raw cane sugar, powdered maple sugar or whatever sweetener you’d like, really. The main thing is to consider the colour and flavour you’re adding by the sweetener you choose. If you want to use a liquid sweetener primarily, you can just omit the water and that’ll work well too.
Where do you find food grade essential oils?
I’ve never used food grade essential oils in my chocolates, however, you can find them. There’s a company called NHR Essential Oils and they carry a range of food grade essential oils in the U.K. But I buy my essential oils from Tree Harvest. Why? Because I try to always source the highest quality ingredients possible, I think that’s most important. The issue with non food grade is the purity and cleanliness, if you will. Tree Harvest are a truly ethical company, they source the very best ingredients. In North America, I’d go for Doterra or Young Living.
Why almond extract?
Almond extract is the taste of marzipan, without it, there won’t be much flavour in there. If you don’t like almond extract, you might want to give these a miss 🙂 In terms of almond extract, this one from Steenbergs is fantastic.
- 90 g ground almonds
- 70 g powdered erythritol or cane sugar
- 20 g light maple syrup
- zest of 1 orange
- ¼ – ½ tsp almond extract
- 3 drops sweet orange essential oil
- 2 drops vanilla medicine flower extract or your fav vanilla product
- pinch sea salt
- water as needed to form a ball or additional maple syrup
- 250g white, milk or dark chocolate tempered
- 3 tbsp Roxy & Rich Orange Cocoa Butter tempered
- Combine all but the water in a food processor and blend to combine. Scrape down the sides and under the blade to ensure all mixes evenly.
- Add water, or additional maple syrup, as needed to bring the mix together into a ball.
- Roll out on a piece of greaseproof paper or a Teflex sheet to approx ¾ – 1 inch and cut into squares or rectangles. Alternatively, you could cut using a cookie cutter for your choice or roll into small balls.
- Place on a greaseproof paper lined baking tray and set in the fridge about 4 hours – overnight. This will firm them up a little, but if you want them firm use some coconut oil or cocoa butter in the recipe in place of water or additional maple. About 5g-10g will do the trick.
- You can use store bought chocolate or your own for dipping. Click here to learn how to make vegan white chocolate and click here to learn how to make vegan milk chocolate.
- If you don't know how to temper chocolate, click here for my free post on how to temper.
- Using a dipping fork, or normal eating fork, dip the pieces of marzipan one at a time and place onto a greaseproof or acetate lined tray.
- Once all the pieces are set, splatter with some Roxy & Rich Orange Cocoa butter using a paint brush or toothbrush (un-used 🙂 )
- Eat right away or store at room temp (no higher than 20c) for 1 week if using water in the recipe and up to 1 month if omitting the water.
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