What exactly is marzipan?
Marzipan is an elastic paste made with almonds and powdered sugar. It's like an edible dough, and you can make shapes with it, and, of course, enrobe it in chocolate.
History of Marzipan from Serious Eats:
The invention of marzipan is usually attributed to Lübeck, Germany. Legend has it that during a 15th century famine when flour for making bread became scarce, the senate of Lübeck ordered bakers to create a replacement. Using eggs, sugar, and stores of almonds, the clever bakers came up with marzipan. But cities like Venice, Florence, Konigsberg and more all lay claim to inventing marzipan and put forth similar stories with different dates, making it hard to determine where the sweet actually came from.
Although the origin of marzipan is fuzzy, it has clearly been embraced by many different cultures and is enjoyed worldwide. Marzipan is a traditional food to eat on weddings and religious feast days in Italy, Greece, and Cyprus.
In Latin America, a popular marzipan-like treat which replaces the almonds with peanuts is called "mazapan." In Mexico, pine nuts and pistachios are other substitutes for almonds in marzipan. You can find marzipan in the Middle East, too, usually flavored with orange-flower water. In Germany and throughout much of northern Europe it is considered good luck to receive a marzipan pig on Christmas or New Year's Day. The Spanish and Portuguese are big consumers of marzipan too. But perhaps the form of marzipan that Americans are most familiar with are the cute little miniature fruit shapes that pop up all over.
Whatever the origins, there is nothing quite like chocolate and marzipan! So for today's holiday here's an easy and original recipe for Chocolate Marzipan Cookies from Santa Barbara Chocolate Company.
CHOCOLATE MARZIPAN COOKIES
1 cup of almonds, peeled
1 cup of powdered sugar
1/4 cup Rainforest Bulk Cocoa Powder
1 egg or 2 tbsp honey - egg is used in the traditional marzipan recipe (but use honey if you don't want to use raw eggs)
Chop peeled almonds and put them in blender or food processor. Blend until you get almond flour texture. Be careful to blend really well to avoid big chunks.
In saucepan add almond flour, Cocoa Powder, and powdered sugar, mix together. Incorporate egg in middle and place over low heat. Stir continuously until all ingredients are combined. Keep stirring for 5 minutes and then take off heat. Place in refrigerator and let chill for 15 minutes before decorating. This way the marzipan is going to hold its shape.
When chilled, roll dough into a tube shape. Pull off pieces and make into balls. Cover balls with chocolate sprinkles to decorate. Place on baking sheet and slightly press down with back of spoon. Let set in refrigerator for 5 minutes more and serve.