What exactly is marzipan? It's 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! And, these chocolate covered Marzipan Cherries and delicious and easy to make. Don't want to use Maraschino Cherries? Try Chukar Cherries. They're natural and delicious.
CHOCOLATE MARZIPAN COVERED CHERRIES
Cherries (Maraschino or Chukar's Cherries)
Chocolate (dark..use any melting technique on this blog)
Take a piece of marzipan bigger than the cherry and wrap it around the cherry.
Continue until all cherries are covered.
Melt chocolate in double boiler or pan over pan with simmering water.
Dip Marzipan Covered Cherry Balls in chocolate.
Put Balls in Refrigerator to set.
How easy is that?
Want to make your own Marzipan? Here's an easy recipe from Epicurious. 2 pounds in 5 minutes!
Five - Minute Marzipan
(from Liz Gutman & Jen King's The Liddabit Sweets Cookbook)
3 cups (24 ounces) almond paste
2 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar, plus extra if needed
1 Tablespoon kirsch or other brandy (see Note), plus extra if needed
If using a stand mixer: Combine almond paste, confectioners' sugar, and 1 tablespoon brandy in mixing bowl. Mix on low speed until everything is completely incorporated and dough is smooth and pliable, about 5 minutes. If using hands: Form almond paste into flat round on work surface. Dust half of confectioners' sugar over round and begin kneading it into paste, folding paste over on itself repeatedly. Drizzle 1 tablespoon of brandy over dough and knead in. Once incorporated, dust remainder of sugar over dough and knead untilcompletely incorporated.
Dough should be uniform and pliable. If dry, add a few more drops of flavoring (or warm water) and knead until at desired consistency; if sticky, a little more confectioners' sugar. Store marzipan, wrapped very well in plastic wrap, in refrigerator for at least 3 months.
Note: Kirsch is brandy distilled from cherries. Cherries particularly complement almonds since the two are related, and cherry pits have an almond like flavor that is imparted to the liquor (and works well with the cherry recipe above)