Gluten free marzipan is not impossible to find, but it ain’t easy, either. And it’s riDICulously expensive! $8.95 for 11 ounces is not my idea of shoestring-friendly gluten free. But did you know how easy it was to make your very own marzipan in your very own kitchen? Well it’s not as easy as, say, not making it, but it’s easier than you think. Somewhere in the middle there, you find this gluten free marzipan recipe.
I thought about (okay, I tried for longer than I really had allocated to the task) to shape this marzipan into all sorts of adorable animals. I think marzipan fruit shapes are creepy but only because I have an unfortunate personal childhood history of marzipan fruit that spent way way WAY too long on display in my home. It does go bad. It DOES. Anyway, I gave up on the shapes as they weren’t gorgeous enough to do justice to this. Instead, I made easy truffles (cream + chocolate = truffles but if you’d like a recipe there’s one in my first gluten free cookbook page 235) and then wrapped them in the result of this marzipan recipe.
All you need is some sugar, water, 1 egg white and some blanched almond flour, then some confectioner’s sugar for kneading. You can use whole blanched almonds, and just get a result that is not nearly as smooth. But that’s neither here nor there, and entirely up to you. We’re going to cook sugar, but we did that for gluten free licorice, and then lived to tell about it. Right? I took plenty of step by step photos for you, but the idea is this: you cook the sugar to create a rich simple syrup. It has a very high sugar:water ratio, so when you cook it to 240°F (the so-called softball stage) and then whisk it as it cools, it becomes cloudy and appears to thicken. Then, all that’s left to do is to add the almond flour and egg white, cook again briefly over low heat, and then knead in confectioner’s sugar until the marzipan becomes smooth.
A small saucepan, whisk, cheap-o instant read candy thermometer and a bench scraper* are all the kitchen equipment you need to make marzipan. And it just takes a few minutes.
*You really should have a bench scraper or something like it. It is going to be essential in your life when Gluten-Free on a Shoestring Bakes Bread comes out November 2013.
I’ve shied away from baking too often with almond paste and marzipan as they’re such expensive ingredients. I am happy to report that I am officially over my shyness.