Paleo Marzipan

September 3, 2012 in Categories: , by

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Marzipan (also known as almond paste) is an almond-based confection that originated in Persia and is now very common in European desserts.  Growing up, we used to get the most amazing marzipan at a local family-owned bakery.  They sold little marzipan animals, chocolate-covered marzipan sticks, and had several types of cake and tarts that were covered with marzipan and/or decorated with marzipan fruit.  And what better way to celebrate launching the new blog than with a recipe for a versatile and decadent paleo treat!!

Marzipan is so versatile.  You can form the marzipan into a loaf and slice wedges or cubes and enjoy it straight.  You can dip the slices into melted dark chocolate for an extra decadent treat (if you’re going to do this, I find it easier to freeze your wedges of marzipan before dipping and dip into melted but cooled chocolate).  If you want to use this marzipan to make fancy treats or cake decorations, the normal method for molding into shapes is to constantly dust with icing sugar as you shape it like playdough (it gets a little stiffer this way and holds its shape better).  Because icing sugar is not paleo, I suggest using arrowroot powder or a very finely ground pastry sugar (which is typically ground as fine as icing sugar but without the cornstarch added).  You can color your finished product by dusting with powdered natural food colorings or spices.

This paleo version of Marzipan borrows from the traditional French variation.  The only special tool you really need is a candy thermometer.  A standing mixer is also very useful unless you want an excuse for a really good forearm workout.  This is a fun recipe to play with.  Different cultures around the world use different nuts and seeds as the base for this treat (although if you’re going to substitute a different kind of nut, you may need to adjust the amount of honey).  However you choose to enjoy this marzipan, I hope you do! This recipe makes quite a generous quantity, but it freezes well.

Ingredients:

  1. Fill your sink or a large bowl or saucepan with cold water (maybe throw in a few ice cubes).
  2. Pour honey into a medium saucepan with a candy thermometer attached to the side.
  3. Heat honey over low heat (or medium-low) until the honey reaches 240F (this should take a long time, something like 10 minutes, with no need to stir while the honey is heating).
  4. Remove pot from heat (but leave the element on the stove on, and turn up to medium-low if you had it on low) and remove the candy thermometer from the pot.  Place the bottom of the pot in the prepared cold water.  Stir the honey until it is thick and creamy (this will take 3-4 minutes and will feel like an eternity for your arm).
  5. Stir in almond flour and egg white.  Place back on the heat and stir constantly for 2-3 minutes, until thick.
  6. Pour into the bowl of a standing mixer with paddle attachment.  Set mixer to low and allow to mix until cooled to room temperature (this will probably take 20-30 minutes).  Alternatively, you could pour out onto a clean surface (counter or baking sheet, maybe lined with parchment paper since this stuff is pretty sticky) and turn/kneed with a pastry scraper until cool.
  7. Place in a sealed container and refrigerate overnight to set.  Enjoy!

Comments

As it’s September and Christmas is ‘only’ four months away, the marzipan figurines should be piling the shop shelves soon! Here in Holland we got another holiday lined up on the 5th of December where this is a standard treat as well. I must admit, it does look like it’s rather labor intensive, so does it keep very long? Thanks!

I know there’s no such thing as macadamia nut flour but, do you think it would work with macadamia nut butter? Marzipan is a treat from my youth and I LOVE it, but my hubby is allergic to almonds. I grew up with there always being marzipan creatures on my birthday cakes. :D

Hi! I am so excited to try this recipe for decorating my daughter’s birthday cake! Do you have suggestions about natural food coloring and where to get it or how to make it? I have found recipes for natural liquid food coloring, but wondered if that would alter the texture of the marzipan? And do you think it would work for me to make half a recipe? I’ve heard with candy-making you don’t want to double recipes, but wasn’t sure about halving them :) Sorry so many questions! I am ecstatic to try this!!

Some powdered spices make really good food colorings for dusting. I think you could kneed in some liquid coloring after the marzipan has set as long as the coloring is very concentrated. I have seen natural food colorings at Whole Foods and Williams & Sanoma (they tend to cost a fortune). As for halving the recipe, I think it might. You’ll have to make sure you’re using a small enough pot that the candy thermometer can get a reading but big enough that you can still add the other ingredients. Comment back and let us know how it works!

Being from Norway I am a big marzipan-lover! Over here its served on cakes at weddings and other selebrations (we actuallt call it a marzipan-cake), and as little shapes and animals for easter and christmas.

I am sooooo excited to find this! I love love love almond paste and we just recently went Paleo. This will be the perfect treat. I have some hazelnut flour, I wonder if that would be good.

Hi, I really miss marzipan and love the look of this recipe but can’t eat eggs, is there anything I could use instead of them?

This recipe could be easily halved, yes? And what is the best technique for coating it in chocolate as shown? I’m looking for something new to make for Christmas and this really looks good.

Could you give a brief description on how to coat a chunk of marzipan with chocolate as you have pictured above? They look delicious and I am making them this week! Thank you!

You can melt the chocolate in a double boiler, dip the marzipan in it with a toothpick or skewer, set it aside on parchment paper or some other non-stick surface, and then place it in the fridge to set. – Christina, Sarah’s assistant

Thank you for sharing this! I follow the SCD, and today I got an idea for an Asian Pear and ginger tart with an almond flour crust and a layer of marzipan… :)

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