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Marzipan

Hatton's marzipan sheep
Very simple to make and easy to work with. A great topper for fruitcake, and is a traditional holiday treat tinted and shaped into fruit and comical animals
Marzipan Pinot Noir on unbleached almond marzipan, on English fruitcake made with home-candied fruits.

Marzipan is easy & fun to work with

I am a big fan of marzipan, but always expected it to be difficult to make and work with. Contrary to expectations, it is both simple to make and easy to work with. And FUN! Like working with playdough, except you may eat it, and your hands smell good afterward. Marzipan is a traditional holiday treat tinted and shaped into flowers, fruit, or comical animals.

It can also be used as a baking ingredient, particularly in German recipes like zimtsterne where the sweet almond paste is a common inclusion. However, this egg-free marzipan recipe does not need to be cooked to be safe. While there are some recipes for marzipan with raw eggs, specifically raw egg whites, this is a vegan marzipan recipe.

Easy homemade marzipan recipe

This easy marzipan recipe can be made with nothing more than finely ground almond powder or ground-blanched almonds, icing sugar, and a bit of water. It benefits however from the addition of a few drops of almond extract to give the flavor a lift. You can use a food processor fitted with a metal blade if you want to make it fastest and easiest, but it can also be done by hand.

How to use marzipan

The main ingredients for this easily made fresh marzipan are ground almonds, and icing sugar, with only a bit of cold water added to it. You do not want to add much water to the dry ingredients, only enough to allow it to bind into a dough-like mixture. Bear in mind that any food colorings added will affect the volume of wet ingredients.

Hatton's marzipan sheep

Hatton’s marzipan sheep

Marzipan is perfect for covering cakes, especially wedding cakes and Christmas cake. The nutty flavor of the sweet paste perfectly complements the dried fruits and brandy in the cakes.

As a kid I loved marzipan so much that few Christmas cakes kept their coverings for long. Dad often had to buy a lot of marzipan to re-cover the cakes as Christmas got closer. 🙂 He also brought home boxes of delicious marzipan candies from the Italian bakeries shops on Commercial Drive. This year I plan to put some time into perfecting marzipan roses and fruits, as well as some animal figures to give as Christmas gifts to children and kids at heart.

Better colors for marzipan fruits and flowers

I’ve seen some really complicated and unsatisfactory solutions for coloring marzipan and fondant. Please make sure to check out the detailed instructions fully before beginning to color your marzipan if you want the colors to shine.

My method is easier by far, and also means more of your food colors are in the almond candy dough, rather than staining your hands.

Some will try to draw a line between almond paste and marzipan, but the line is pretty much imaginary. It’s mostly a question of the amount of sugar used, which is often a variable anyway depending on personal taste. In theory, marzipan uses more sugar, and almond paste uses less sugar.

Marzipan Pinot Noir on unbleached almond marzipan, on English fruitcake made with home-candied fruits.

Marzipan Pinot Noir on unbleached almond marzipan, on English fruitcake made with home-candied fruits.

Be sure to store your marzipan in an airtight container, and if you want to store it for a future use, consider vacuum-sealing it. When you work with it, bring it back to room-temperature. It will be most malleable then.

Enjoy the recipe and please leave a nice comment with a photo of what you have made. 🙂

Marzipan Pinot Noir on unbleached almond marzipan, on English fruitcake made with home-candied fruits.

Delicious homemade marzipan

Very simple to make and easy to work with. A great topper for fruitcake, and is a traditional holiday treat tinted and shaped into fruit and comical animals
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Course: Confections
Cuisine: Germany
Servings: 10

Ingredients

  • 1 Cup Almond flour (blanched)
  • 1.25 Cup Powdered sugar
  • 2 Tbsp Water to bind
  • 1/4 tsp Almond extract Optional, but makes it so much better

Instructions

  • Blend the almond flour and sugar together in a food processor or large mixing bowl
    Almond flour with icing sugar
  • Using just enough water to moisten the mixture (begin with 1 tsp), mix with the flour/sugar mixture until they bind.
  • After adding half of the water using the food processor, move the mixture to a bowl and mix by hand.
    Mixing the marzipan crumble in a bowl
  • As you get close to adding the last of the water, go slowly, it is easy to make the marzipan too wet. It will be crumbly for white a while, but don't be fooled, It will hydrate.
  • Once the marzipan begins to hold together, start to knead it, as you would with a dough, folding it and turning to fold again. Keep doing this until it is glossy and smooth.
    Kneading the marzipan
  • Wrap in plastic and set aside. This is candy. It does not need refrigeration if you are using it today, but it does need to be airtight so the marzipan doesn't die.
  • The process is pretty much like making pie dough. As with other stiff mixtures such as pie dough and pasta, this will not be easily shaped until it has rested. Let sit for at least an hour and overnight is likely better.
    Marzipan resting before shaping

If you plan to colour your marzipan

  • You CAN add colouring to prepared marzipan, but if you plan to make shaped marzzipan, this is not the best way to do it.
  • Mix quantities of almond flour and icing sugar and scoop our the amounts you want to use of each colour.
  • Add the colouring agent to the water to be used in the recipe, and then mix this into the almond/sugar mixture. You will find this to be easier to work with and gives a better result

Special colouring instructions

  • BROWN – Why use food colouring when you can use cocoa? For each tablespoon of cocoa, add one tablespoon of additional icing sugar.I find that one tablespoon of cocoa per cup of almond/sugar mix is sufficient. You may like more.
    It may be producitve for this to use unblanched almond flour.
  • BLACK – This can become grey if you do not use enough of the dye, as the dye distributes into the mixture. This is also true of textiles, where double the amount of black dye is a typical minimum.
    Painters put a layer of a deep colour beneath black to give it lustre.
    In the same way, your black dye will ger better value being used with a chocolate marzipan.

Notes

I finally started making marzipan last year after realizing how easy it is. Two ingredients (3 counting water) plus a few minutes to mix and knead it.
If you are making fruitcake, you already have almond flour, and it’s more than likely you have icing sugar.
The only problem I have with making marzipan is that it is so easy to make… “I can resist anything but temptation”.
Equally yummy is Zimtsterne, the cookie version.
To keep the marzipan for future use, either vacuum-seal it, or wrap it tightly in multiple layers of plastic wrap, and store it in the freezer in a sealed container.
Or roll it into balls and eat it. Dip it in chocolate to give as gifts. It’s so simple to make that it’s best to make the amount needed at the moment, and make more later with fresh ingredients.
Hatton's marzipan sheep

Hatton’s marzipan sheep

The grapes, vine and leaves are my own design, but I learned to make these adorable sheep by watching Zoe’s Fancy Cakes.
Working with marzipan is way more fun than working with plasticine or playdough. You get all the fun of modeling cute things, no nasty smell, and you can eat them when you are done.
How to make a sheep cake topper fondant animals cute mini marzipan cake tutorial
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!