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.
- Fill your sink or a large bowl or saucepan with cold water (maybe throw in a few ice cubes).
- Pour honey into a medium saucepan with a candy thermometer attached to the side.
- 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).
- 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).
- Stir in almond flour and egg white. Place back on the heat and stir constantly for 2-3 minutes, until thick.
- 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.
- Place in a sealed container and refrigerate overnight to set. Enjoy!