The truth is that sometimes I just don’t have time to go for the gold and make my own marzipan from scratch (i.e. from almonds). However there’s still value in doing it yourself, even if your base ingredient is store-bought almond paste. It just tastes better. All you need to do is combine an 8-ounce can of almond paste with 7 ounces (1 3/4 cups) of powdered sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle.
Beat that on medium for about three minutes until it’s got a crumb-like consistency, then add two tablespoons corn syrup. An egg white is the traditional moistener, but people worry about uncooked egg whites these days. It’s my opinion that no microbe could survive all this sugar, but use caution if you are inclined that way.
Knead all that together on medium-low until it comes together as a paste.
Turn it out on a board lightly dusted with powdered sugar and knead it a bit by hand.
Roll it into a log, wrap it and you’re done!
It’ll keep for about a week unrefrigerated, after which it will start to dry out. You can also freeze it for months if you like!
A simple uncooked marzipan is a very easy thing provided you have a coffee grinder handy to pulverize the nuts. You’ll need to do the grinding in small batches, obviously. I think it took me four batches, but all of maybe five minutes. After you’ve cleaned out your grinder, add the nuts…
…and grind continuously for about fifteen seconds. Try not to reduce them to a paste, which is very easy to do since the nuts have so much oil in them.
Once that’s done, pass them through a fine sieve, pressing the remnants through with your knuckles or a spoon, whichever you like. Re-grind and re-sieve anything that’s too big to go through.
Now then, whisk your egg white and salt together…
…add the vanilla and keep whisking until everything’s incorporated.
Then just dump in the almonds.
Stir it all together until you get a wet paste…
….then add the powdered sugar.
You’ll need to knead it by hand as it gets stiffer…
…but in about three minutes you’ll have a fairly firm paste.
Add more powdered sugar to get to the consistency you want. Add food coloring to your heart’s content. The marzipan can be eaten as-is or molded into virtually any shape. Refrigerate it for up to two months.
I went most of my adult life thinking I didn’t like marzipan. Then I made some from scratch and realized what a fool I’d been. There are two ways to go about making marzipan. You can do the simple mix-and-stir method using powdered sugar, ground almonds and egg white, or you can do the slightly more involved candy method, and cook granulated sugar and water to the soft ball stage, then add the egg white and almonds. The mix-and-stir method is what I prefer, though it does mean that the end result is a “raw egg” confection. It’s my personal belief that the overwhelming amount of sugar is enough to kill any bugs the eggs might contain. However I’m not a food safety scientist, so do as your conscience dictates. Pasteurized egg whites can be acquired from many sources.
The best way to grind almonds for marzipan is in a coffee grinder. If yours is full of coffee, try brushing it out, then grinding up some uncooked rice to clean it. The almonds will grind very nicely in such a machine, but will reduce to a paste if you grind them too finely. That’s not the end of the world by any means, but a paste is harder to push through a sieve. You’ll need:
5.5 ounces skinless, sliced or slivered blanched almonds
1 egg white
1 teaspoons vanilla extract
6 ounces (1 1/4 cups) or more powdered sugar
Grind the almonds to powder in the coffee grinder. Sieve the powder and re-grind anything that’s too big to pass through. Combine the egg white and salt in a medium bowl and whisk to combine. Add the vanilla and whisk until incorporated. Stir in the almond powder to form a paste, then add the powdered sugar, kneading in as much as is necessary to form a stiff paste. The marzipan can be kept in the refrigerator for weeks or even months, tightly wrapped in plastic wrap.