Happy National Marzipan Day
Posted on 12 January 2017
This is the second of several posts we are devoting to a closer look at some of our confections. You can read the first one that explains what a butter cup is here. Today, according to whoever is in charge of such holidays, is National Marzipan Day, so we are celebrating by telling you more about our beloved Marzipan Truffle Butter Cup.
Marzipan is the oldest and most traditional confection among our nut butter cup fillings. Marzipan is delicious and versatile, typically made using almonds, sugar, and sometimes extracts, flavored oils, and flavored waters like rose and orange. It can be firm and molded into decorative shapes, or soft and used as coatings or layers in cakes and pastries.
Marzipan is popular in many countries and has a strong Middle Eastern heritage. Its history dates back centuries, with disputed claims of origination in modern day Iran, Italy, Hungary, Spain, and even China. However, for reasons that are not entirely clear to me, the confection hasn’t caught on as much in the United States. I partly want to blame those animal and fruit shaped marzipan confections that are popular in candy stores – while they may look really cute, the taste and texture are less than ideal as they’re often overly sweet and hard.
Fun tip: If you want to try your hand at marzipan shapes, go to the source! You can consult the 1952 American patent for the technique to make decorative roses here.
When I set out to make my own marzipan butter cup, I was determined the center be soft and flavorful. I start with whole almonds that I blanch, candy, and then grind until the mixture reaches a soft, fine-grain consistency. I use a high ratio of almonds to sugar and add a touch of almond extract to heighten the almond flavor. A layer of marzipan is paired with a creamy dark ganache, providing a nice contrast of textures and flavors.
Each Marzipan Truffle cup is decorated with a slivered almond that is toasted by hand and coated with caramelized sugar. The finishing touch is a drizzle of more chocolate over the candied almond because, well, who doesn’t want more chocolate?
I invite you to take a bite of history and discover for yourself why marzipan is so widely celebrated.