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.
- 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
- Pulse almonds in a food processor until finely ground. Add an egg white and pulse again until mixed.
- 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.
- 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).
- 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.