Roasted almond and chocolate marzipan

Walking around Europe during the holidays, it’s hard not to be tempted by the beautifully decorated marzipan fruits and animals that are displayed in every sweet shop window. As a kid, I didn’t like marzipan very much at all–the texture seemed mushy, the flavor seemed dull, and I felt guilty devouring a miniature work of art. As I have grown older and I dare say more sophisticated (ha), I have grown to love the subtle nutty taste of marzipan, creamy center, and sweet-but-not-too-sweet flavor.

My favorite way to eat marzipan is in coated in chocolate, but the ratio has to be just right (the German chocolate maker RitterSport does a pretty good job). I think these roasted almond and chocolate marzipan candies have balanced a good crisp coating with melt-away center to make a perfectly proportioned evening snack. Note: This recipe uses roasted almonds, so it will taste smokier and appear much browner in color than regular marzipan, which uses raw almonds or almond meal.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups roasted, unsalted almonds
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/16 tsp cream of tartar
  • about 8 oz melted chocolate for coating the marzipan

Directions

  1. Pulse almonds in a food processor until finely ground. Add an egg white and pulse again until mixed.
  2. In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine sugar, water, and cream of tartar. Bring to a boil (240 F on a candy thermometer) for about 3 minutes. Take pan off the heat and continue to stir until thick and cooled.
  3. Stir almond mix and sugar mix together until evenly combined. Pour into a wax paper-lined 9X9 pan and place in refrigerator until firm (about 30 minutes, but you can wait overnight).
  4. Cut marzipan into small squares (you may have to roll marzipan into balls), dip in melted chocolate, and place on a wax paper-lined cookie sheet. Again, place the candies in the fridge until firm. Enjoy!

Matt and I went to Pacifica (just south of San Francisco) last night to see the bioluminescence, where fluorescent blue bacteria are visible in the waves next to Pacifica Pier. I didn’t take any pictures, but these ones do a good job of showing the beautiful, glowing waves. I enjoyed watching the waves crest, churning up the blue bacteria as they curled and crashed back into the ocean. Bioluminescence will only be around for a short time (it’s similar to red tide, an algal bloom of red bacteria), so go soon if you’re in Northern California.

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