Traditionally, marzipan consisted of just a couple of ingredients, as it should. I was even lucky enough to visit the famous marzipan factory in Hungary, and saw it for myself. The only question they ask when you place an order is, what grade you’d like. The base, from which all marzipan is made, is about 2/3 almond paste and 1/3 sugar. Depending on how much extra sugar is added to the base, they’re graded 5:50, 70:30, or even 90:10, the highest quality (and most expensive) marzipan, with merely 10% extra sugar added. But, of course, even if you are lucky enough to find some of this wonderful, melt-in-your-mouth delight in stores, chances are, it will have some fillers and other ingredients that don’t belong!
Health Benefits of Almonds
Almonds are among the most nutritious nuts. They have loads of fiber and they’re especially high in manganese, magnesium, phosphorous, copper, calcium, iron, zinc, vitamin E and riboflavin (vitamin B2). Their high mineral content helps build and maintain strong bones, while the fiber helps in the prevention of colon cancer. B vitamins and vitamin E (an antioxidant), along with calcium, magnesium, and zinc are very important brain foods. A lot of us are deficient in magnesium (do tight muscles or muscle spasms/quivers sound familiar?), which is not so hard to acquire, but it’s a water-soluble mineral so it’s important to replenish your body with adequate amounts on a daily basis! What foods are good sources of magnesium? Good news: nuts and dark chocolate are among the richest sources of this essential mineral! Almonds are high in monounsaturated fats, which will help you keep your heart healthy. They’re a really good snack choice for diabetics too, because they’re high in protein and low in carbohydrates.
Do you need any other excuse to make dessert today? Ok, here’s a couple more….almonds are very nourishing for your skin and, when eaten in moderation, will even help you lose weight! So, go ahead…
(Makes 1 marzipan log - 5 in long, 2 in ∅)
1 ½ cup almonds*
4 to 5 tbsp agave syrup/maple syrup (not raw)/honey (not vegan)/your favorite sugar, melted
~1 tsp almond extract
cacao powder/cinnamon for rolling (optional)
1. Soak the almonds for a couple of hours or until you’re able to remove their skin (raw method) or, as an alternative, blanch them (not a raw method) and then remove their skin.
2. Dry the almonds and, using a food processor, process them into crumbs, then add the sweetener and the almond extract and process the mix until clumps form.
3. Place the paste into a bowl and make sure it’s well combined; form into a ball or the shape of a log by hand. It really is up to your imagination…you can just roll it into cacao powder or make figures out of it (it behaves like edible playdough) or roll it out and cut cookies out of it or slice it…anything your heart desires.
4. Serve as it is or use your healthy marzipan to decorate a birthday cake.
5. Go back to step 1. and start over, because you know you didn’t make enough!…
*Note: You can purchase almonds in bulk instead of packages. You'll save the planet from lots of trash and it will probably save you some $$$! If you're in a hurry then you can use 1 cup of almond meal (also comes in bulk or packages) instead of almonds and skip the soaking/peeling/grinding part.
Your marzipan would keep in the refrigerator for quite a while, but it just never lasts more than a day or two in my home. : )
Featured in Funky Raw, UK's raw food magazine