You’ve probably eaten it before, but have you ever wondered, “What is marzipan?”
Often confused with almond paste, marzipan is very smooth and pliable. Which is why it’s so popular in baking.
Marzipan is a confectionery paste used to decorate cakes.
It’s also a popular addition to many European cakes and pastries, like German stollen.
The most common way you’ll see marzipan is molded and colored as candies and figurines, such as fruit.
But that’s not all there is to know about this confection. So keep reading, and we’ll dive deeper.
What Is Marzipan?
Marzipan is a sweet paste made with sugar, almond meal, and a sweetener, like honey.
Some recipes also include egg whites as well as almond oil or extract to make the flavor more prominent.
Popular in the Middle East and Mediterranean, it’s typically molded into candies or used to cover cakes.
Almond meal is the prominent ingredient and, therefore, flavor. Though if it’s mixed with honey or covered in chocolate, it can be quite mild.
I’m sure you’ve seen marzipan candies before. They’re lined up in little boxes, all shiny and vibrant.
Though they’re colored and molded to look like, say, fruits, they don’t usually have flavor added. Instead, it’ll just be nutty.
That said, it’s a popular ingredient in many European recipes and is often used to decorate cakes – like boozy Christmas cake.
What Is Marzipan Made Of?
Marzipan is made of finely ground almonds, sugar, glucose syrup or honey, water, and sometimes almond or vanilla extract.
The almonds are processed into a fine paste, then mixed with sugar and other ingredients to give it a smooth, dough-like consistency.
With that basic recipe, it’s possible to make marzipan from other nuts, such as hazelnuts, pistachios, walnuts, and macadamia nuts.
So don’t be afraid to experiment!
Marzipan vs Almond Paste
As mentioned, marzipan is often confused with almond paste. So, what’s the difference?
Well, almond paste is like marzipan before it’s mixed with egg whites. So it’s just almond meal and sugar.
The two are processed together until they turn into a paste. But without the added liquid, it stays quite crumbly, which means you can’t mold it.
In contrast, they add egg whites or glucose syrup and water to marzipan, making it very smooth and pliable.
What Does Marzipan Taste Like?
I love the flavor of marzipan. And the texture doesn’t bother me one bit.
If you’ve never tried it before, here’s my best description:
Marzipan tastes sweet and nutty with a slightly grainy texture.
Depending on the brand and the inclusion of almond oil or extract, the flavor can be quite prominent or somewhat mild.
Though even without added honey, it’s still quite sweet, thanks to the high quantity of sugar.
What Is Marzipan Used For?
Marzipan has many uses that are both decorative and delicious. Here are five ways you can use this yummy almond-packed treat:
1. Cake Decoration
Marzipan is very often used in cake decorating.
With the help of cookie cutters, you can quickly create adorable animals, flowers, and other figures out of marzipan.
And since it’s so smooth, you can work with it much like fondant.
When using marzipan for decoration, you’ll need to coat the cake and the figure with a thin layer of icing to make sure it sticks.
2. Fondant Substitute
If you are looking for an alternative to fondant but don’t want to go through the hassle of making it yourself, marzipan makes a great substitution.
It’s much easier to work with than fondant, and it also tastes better.
To make marzipan into a more pliable substance, add a few drops of water or melted chocolate until you reach the desired consistency.
Marzipan can be used as an alternative to traditional cake fillings such as jams and custard.
Simply spread a layer of marzipan between two layers of sponge, and voila! You’ve created a delicious, almond-flavored filling that everyone will love.
For added flavor, you can mix in some chopped nuts or dried fruit. Absolutely delicious!
Marzipan candies are popular around the world.
To make these treats, simply roll the marzipan into small balls and dip them in melted chocolate or roll them in different coatings such as coconut flakes, chopped nuts, and dried fruits.
Candies made from marzipan are sure to be a hit with everyone!
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