We love marzipan! It's sweet, it's smooth, and it is delicious. But where did it come from? And how is it made? Is there a special recipe for making the best marzipan? Let's find out!
Where Did It Come From?
Marzipan, a confection made from sugar and ground almonds, is popular throughout the world. The sweet delicacy originated in the Orient and Mediterranean region at around 850, when a Persian doctor prescribed the almond, sugar mixture as a remedy for illnesses. Since then the confectionary has been used for centuries in Europe and become a favorite sweet treat in Germany, Spain and Italy, especially during the holiday season. Today, it can be found in many different forms including bars, candies, cakes, cookies, and even ice cream.
In Germany, the invention of marzipan is often traced back to Lübeck, a city in the north of the country. When flour for making bread became scarce during the 15th century, the senate of Lübeck ordered bakers to produce a substitute. The clever bakers in Lübeck came up with marzipan using eggs, sugar, and almonds and thus this sweet delight was born. The city of Lübeck is also home to world renowned Niederegger marzipan, which was established by Johann Georg Niederegger in 1806. Till to date it is a family-run business and it is probably the most famous marzipan candy manufacturers in the world. If you want to try it for yourself, you can find this mouth-watering delicacy in our store.
What Are The Different Types?
Marzipan is a sweet confection consisting of primarily almonds and sugar. Depending where you are in the world, the definition of it varies greatly. Some brands in the USA specify 28% almonds in their marzipan and 45% almonds in their almond paste. In Sweden and Finland almond paste refers to a marzipan that contains 50% ground almonds and in Germany, the Lübecker marzipan contains 66% almonds.
The texture of marzipan ranges from crumbly to dense, depending on the amount of almonds used in its preparation. It can be prepared with either whole or ground almonds, and some varieties may also include other ingredients such as milk powder, glucose syrup, honey or glycerin.
In recipes two different terms are frequently used, which can be quite confusing “almond paste” and “marzipan paste”. Almond paste is softer and primarily used as a baking ingredient. It consists only of almonds; however, it can be quite dry because it does not contain any additional moisture or fat needed for softening. In contrast, marzipan is firmer and used for candy or chocolate production. The paste contains extra liquid such as water or alcohol that helps to soften the texture of the candy while adding its own unique flavor profile - often floral notes from rose water or orange blossom water.
Classic Homemade Marzipan Recipe
The recipe below shows how to make marzipan quick and easy at home with almonds, or if you want it simple use ground blanched almonds or almond flour instead.
- 200 g / 7.05 oz Blanched Whole Almonds (not skinned)
- 150 g / 5.29 oz Confectioner's Sugar (500 g),
- 2 Tbsp. Liquid of your choice (Rosewater, Cointreau, Curacao, Amaretto)
- Alternatively 1/2 teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract and water
- Optional drops of Bitter Almond Oil
Grind your almonds in a food processor until they're finely ground but not powdery. This takes about two minutes on high speed. You will know you are done when your almonds look like crushed nuts instead of large chunks. If this step seems too time consuming and tedious for you, don't worry: purchasing ground blanched whole almonds will also work fine here too!
Add all ingredients except for liquid / vanilla extract into mixing bowl; use electric mixer set on low speed until thoroughly combined - about 3 minutes total should do it just fine! To ensure smooth results try not overmixing your batter; otherwise it may end up grainy instead. Knead the dough with your hands until you have a smooth mass.
Chocolate Dusted Marzipan Potatoes
Now that you have your marzipan dough ready, you can continue to process it further to create delicious treats. Arguably the easiest way to turn them into bite-sized little delicacies is to make marzipan potatoes, which is a classic German Christmas treat. The candy got its name from the external resemblance to potatoes as you can see in the picture above. To do this, first roll the marzipan mass into small balls and then lightly roll them in unsweetened baking cocoa powder. Nicely packaged, they make a great gift and when stored in metal tins, they stay fresh for several weeks.
Bethmännchen / Marzipan Cookies
You can also turn your marzipan mass into a cookie. All you need to do is form small balls and press 3 almond halves onto each Bethmännchen. Whisk one fresh raw egg yolk and brush the Bethmännchen with it. Then bake the marzipan cookies at 160 degrees Celsius (320 F) for approximately 10 to 15 minutes or until golden brown. With a little bit of bitter almond oil, the marzipan taste can be intensified.
Marzipan is one of our favorite candies, and we hope you’ll try it for yourself! You can find a delicious selection of Niederegger marzipan pralines in our online store, or even make your own with above ingredients. With so many ways to enjoy marzipan, there’s no reason not to give this sugary treat a try this holiday season!
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