Marizpan, an almond candy, is an old-fashioned favorite. It's often purchased in stores, but it also can be made easily at home with this basic recipe.
Using this as a base, you can color, flavor, or form marzipan into many different candies, including those dipped in chocolate, and shaped into figurines and fruit shapes or cut into squares and eaten as is.
Marizpan also can be rolled out and used to cover cakes, similar to fondant. Fondant is typically sturdier, and is a better choice if you have delicate cakes, tricky shapes, or need more long-term staying power. But many people prefer the almond flavor of marzipan over fondant. If you're going to use your marzipan for rolling, try this recipe for rolled marzipan.
If you don't have time to make your own marzipan, it often can be found in cake and candy supply stores, and in the baking aisle of well-stocked grocery stores.
- 2 cups sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 4 cups almond meal (or ground almonds)
- 2 large egg whites
- Optional: confectioners' sugar for dusting
- Prepare your workspace by sprinkling confectioners' sugar over a marble slab, wooden cutting board, or large baking sheet. Fill your sink or a large bowl with cold water.
- Place the sugar and 2/3 cup water in a large heavy saucepan and heat gently, stirring, until the sugar dissolves.
- Add the cream of tartar and turn up the heat. Bring to a boil and cover, and continue to boil for 3 minutes.
- Uncover and boil, without stirring, until the temperature reaches the soft-ball stage, 240 F on a candy thermometer.
- Place the bottom of the saucepan in the cold water you’ve prepared, stirring the sugar mixture constantly until it becomes thick and creamy. The cold water trick helps to cool down the hot candy quickly.
- Once the proper temperature is reached, stir in the ground almonds and the egg whites, then place the pan back over low heat and stir everything together for 2 minutes more, until the mixture is thick.
- Spoon the marzipan onto your prepared work surface, and turn it with a metal spatula until it cools down enough to touch.
- Coat your hands with confectioners' sugar and begin to knead the marzipan, working it until it is smooth and pliant.
- Your marzipan now can be used immediately or stored by wrapping it in plastic wrap and keeping it in an airtight container.