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Homemade Marzipan

Ahhhh.   I tend to go nuts around the holidays, but who doesn’t?  It doesn’t help that I always plan to bake a billion things, yet leave it to a few days before they’ll be consumed.  Then, instead of cutting corners, I like to make things more complicated.

Case in point: I decided I to use marzipan in one of the things I’m baking for Christmas.   Now, a sane normal person would just buy a log of it at their nearest grocery store.  What did I actually do?  I looked up how to make it, thought it didn’t look too tricky and decided to give it a go.

boiling sugar water

The thing is, it really wasn’t difficult to make, and it actually didn’t take too much time.

Let’s get to it because I have two more things to make before my family celebrates Christmas in 13 hours!   O_o  

marzipan about to be kneaded

Homemade Marzipan
adapted from About.com

Since I only needed a little bit, I quartered this recipe.  Halving it would have been nice because then there would have been extra for nomming.  The only change I made was adding a wee bit of almond extract, which gives it a nice flavor.  Bonus: it’s gluten-free!

1/2 cup granulated sugar
pinch of cream of tartar
1 cup ground almonds (or almond meal)
1/2 egg white (I know, this is obnoxiously anal.  You could probably use a whole one.)
splash of almond extract (optional)
powdered sugar for dusting

Sprinkle powdered sugar over a workspace (counter, cutting board, baking mat, etc.).  Prepare an ice water bath by pouring cold water into your sink, a large metal bowl, or a skillet.

Pour the sugar and 2 tablespoons water into a saucepan.  Heat over low heat and stir until sugar dissolves.  Add the cream of tartar and turn up the heat.  Bring to a boil, then cover and let boil for 2 minutes.  Uncover and let boil until the mixture reaches 240F on a candy thermometer (soft ball stage).

Remove from heat and place the saucepan in the prepared water bath (it will make a scary loud sizzling sound) and stir the mixture constantly until it becomes thick and creamy.  Umm, mine pretty much instantly hardened, but my water was super cold, and the saucepan was pretty big for the amount I had in it.  My marzipan still turned out, though!

Stir in the ground almonds or almond meal, egg white, and almond extract if you’re using it.  Return to low heat on the stove and stir for about 2 minutes, or until the mixture becomes thick.  (For me, this remelted the sugar, then made thick crumbs.)

Spoon the marzipan onto the prepared surface and work it with a metal spoon.  When cool enough to handle, knead with your hands until it is smooth and pliable.  At this point, you may use it for whatever, or store wrapped in plastic wrap in an airtight container.

Homemade Marzipan FACE

I’ll let you know what I used mine for in my next post! ;)