Marzipan! That weird almond dessert that no one seems to really talk about in America, but people rave about in Europe. It really should catch on in the US, because:
It tastes like almonds and is delicious
It's easy to make
It's fun to work with and versatile
It can be used as filling or toppings of baked goods, and it can also be colored and molded into shapes or rolled out and used to cover cakes in a fondant fashion. Fondant has it's place, but I would rather eat a marzipan covered cake any day over a fondant cake.
You may have seen almond paste sold in stores, and although almond paste and marzipan are made from the same ingredients, they are not usually equal. This depends on what part of the world you call home. In many European countries the terms marzipan and almond paste are interchangeable, in other parts, such as the US, they are different products. If they are different, for example in the US, marzipan is smoother, sweeter, made with egg whites and sometimes rose water, whereas almond pasted is less sweet and has a coarser texture. When I first started dabbling in marzipan, I used almond paste as a base to make marzipan, but now I prefer to make it from scratch.
It's so simple, as you can see for yourself!
Recipe adapted from La Cuochina Sopraffina
Makes about 280g of marzipan, or about 10 oz.
125g / 1 1/3 cup almond flour or almonds
125g / 1 cup powdered sugar
1 egg white (about 30g)
6 drops almond extract
3 drops rose water, optional
If using whole almonds, place in a food processor and process until finely ground.
Process almond flour, powdered sugar, egg white, almond extract, and rose water until a thick dough forms. If the consistency is too thin, add more powdered sugar.
Turn marzipan out onto a surface lightly dusted with powdered sugar, knead for a few seconds. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate until needed, or freeze.
This recipe is very simple to adjust to the amount you need, especially if you scale/weigh your ingredients. As you may have noticed, the almond flour to powdered sugar is a 1:1 ratio.
If you are worried about eating or serving raw egg whites, be sure to buy pasteurized egg whites from the store.