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Real Raw Marzipan

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

I can’t recall my first love affair with marzipan. All I know, is that whenever my dearest grandma took my sister and I to the confectionary store across the street from her house, and let us pick and choose whatever our hearts desired, I went for the “marzipan log” or the “marzipan potato”. If you’re curious, a “marzipan potato” is a ball of marzipan coated with chocolate cream, then a layer of some kind of soft dough, and the whole thing rolled into a generous amount of cacao powder, in other words: heaven! Needless to say, I was beyond upset if, on any of these occasions, the man behind the counter informed me that they were out of my favorites! This is not an issue anymore. There are no specialty cake shops on every corner here, and I can make my own marzipan any time I want! And so can you!

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…

Raw Marzipan
(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


Imola said...

Hmmm, looks delicious! I wonder if you could come up with the recipe for marzipan potato?? ;)

Dita said...

Thanks! Maybe I will..anything is possible!! Until then, enjoy making (and eating) marzipan "logs"! :)

Marcsi said...

Nyami-nyami!!!!!!!!! Igazi csemege, grat!

Eve said...

Hi there,
Was looking exactly for this kind of recipe!!! Looks very promising!! I want to use it to decorate the cake pops of my girls birthday. Ehmmm, would almond flour work as well, or do you think it's best to grind fresh almonds? And my most important question... Have you experience in coloring your marzipan with all natural color techniques? Things like sweetened beetroot juice or tumeric, or blueberry, or? I would love to learn more about that! I MUST make the most superduper healthy colorful marzipan ever.... please help me :-)))

Dita said...

Hi Eve,
I'm glad you've found what you were looking for :)
I imagine almond flour would work as long as it's not too dry. As far as coloring, yes, I do have experience using fruit and veggie juices and they work perfectly well. I would use juices such as pomegranate (they're in season too, at least here)/carrot/blueberries/greens, etc. and yes, I would add extra sweetener to the green juice if you're using a lot to make a really green figure. I can't wait to make marzipan figures too, they're so fun. I hope your girls will love them; good luck!!! : )

Eve said...

Just worried that the marzipan will get too wet when using veggie juices to color the marzipan. Can you give a general direction how to color the marzipan? :-)

Dita said...

It really depends on how much color you try to give it. If you're using liquids it can get too wet so, yes, you might want to use dry ingredients instead. Spirulina (use very little for green), turmeric (for yellow) and berry powders (for pink/red) work. I would test the pas†e though and add a little extra sweetener if you think the spices, etc. changed the taste too much. I highly recommend dehydrated berries (blueberries, raspberries, acai) that way you don't have to worry about the flavor. Grind them into a powder as fine as possible and just add different amounts for different hues. Good luck! :)

strongtide said...

Hi there! I really want to make this but am worried that the maple syrup will have a strong flavour.....can you taste it in the marzipan?


Dita said...

Hi! True, both, maple syrup and honey can have a strong flavor, depending on the grade/variety used. If you're concerned about it, you may opt for clear agave syrup, which is very neutral and will not change the taste of the final result..
I, personally, love the taste of maple syrup so that was my first choice..
Good luck! :)

strongtide said...

Hmmm, I think I'll try the maple syrup as I don't use agave. I was thinking of trying coconut sugar, but don't want to bother melting it, hahaha. I wonder if I could use date paste? I'm so looking forward to making this, since I stopped eating refined sugar years ago, it's been the one thing that I've missed like crazy!!

Dita said...

I'm pretty sure you'll be happy with it, especially since you've been looking forward to a healthy version for so long! :) You might want to try using grade A ("light amber") syrup if you can get some, that has the mildest flavor. The date paste would be too thick so you would need to dilute it a bit and, of course, you would have a darker color marzipan but you might not care about that….I wouldn't.
I make this for eating, not for a show!… ;) And, after all, if it's going on top of a cake, you can still color it, if need be.

strongtide said...

I made it this morning! I used 3 Tbsp coconut sugar which I powdered in a spice grinder, 1/2 tsp honey and maybe a tsp of maply syrup and a bit of water. I rolled them into balls (they were a darker colour due to the coconut sugar, but who cares when it tastes SO good! :) ) and studded them with cloves. YUM!!! I think I may try date paste next time. Healthy marzipan? OMG! Drooooool!

Dita said...

Yay, good for you! You sound just as excited as I do after eating yummy stuff! :)

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