Marzipanoids


Abstract

I have prepared different variations of marzipanoidal confectionery from low-sugar almond, hazelnut and coconut marzipanoids. Some combining marzipanoids and dry fruits. The products were coated with dark chocolate and partially decorated with nuts.

Photos are available from my homepage.

Introduction

Marzipan as a mixture of about equal amounts of grouted almond and icing sugar has been known for a long time and commercially available at low prices[1]. Due to its high content of sugar, this product is very sweet and the taste of almond, which already isn’t very intense, gets almost suppressed.

Marzipan-like masses can also be made with much lower fractions of sugar. Nuts:sugar ratios of 10:1 have been accomplished in the past years. Also, almost any kind of nuts may be used when grouted reasonably fine. Successful attempts have been made with almond, hazelnuts, walnuts, and even peanuts [2].

To avoid confusion with the “real” marzipan, I suggest the more general term marzipanoid for any substance essentially made from grouted nuts and icing sugar. Where necessary I recommend to add the involved type of nuts as a prefix (e.g. hazelnut marzipanoid) for clarity.

In this writing I describe the confectionery made from home-made marzipanoids for this year’s Christmas since I am frequently asked how to do it. The preparation is simple and readily accomplished with standard kitchenware. Low-sugar marzipanoids are still an emerging field of culinary and much more findings are expected to be made over the next years. I’d love to hear of new experiments and findings.

Experimental Section

Materials and Methods

To mix the products, standard kitchenware was used. To melt the chocolate, a bain-Marie was constructed from a ceramic bowl and a metal pot. Grease-proof paper was rolled out on a kitchen table to place the freshly couvertured products on. For characterization, a small sharp knife and a digital camera were used.

All chemicals were food-grade and are commercially available via grocery stores. They are non-toxic even if swallowed in moderate amounts and don’t evaporate hazardous gases. They can be disposed off with the residual waste or, preferably, biodegradable waste. Small amounts of water solvable or granulated educts may enter the waste water system without causing ecological damage. Following the so-called “green chemistry” approach, the amount of products was adjusted to fully use up any educts therefore reducing the need for disposal to the amount stuck onto the processing tools.

All marzipanoids contain large amounts of nuts and are inappropriate for people allergic to them. Brandy contains ethanol and traces of other alcohols and may not be consumed by small children or people following a strict no-alcohol diet.

Preparative Section

Raw Materials

Almond Marzipanoid

300 g of grouted almond were mixed with 30 g of icing sugar in a bowl. 50 ml of hot tap water were added to the dry mixture and all components were stirred with a spoon until a brittle mass was formed. This mass was then kneaded from hand and rolled to a ball from which small pieces could be cut off as needed.

Hazelnut Marzipanoid

Similarly, the hazelnut mass was prepared from 200 g grouted hazelnuts, 20 g icing sugar and 25 ml hot water.

Coconut Marzipanoid

200 g shredded coconuts were mixed with 40 g icing sugar and 30 g ground white chocolate. After adding 40 ml of hot tap water the mixture was also stirred and knead and finally formed to a ball.

Dark Chocolate Couverture

Approximately 400 g of dark chocolate was carefully molten in a bain-Marie at low temperatures without further additives. The chocolate was composed of circa one third 70 % and two third 85 % cocoa containing chocolate.

In the following “chocolate” refers to this mixture.

Fruits and Nuts

Commercially available dried dates were soaked for half a day in brandy at room temperature. Dried figs, cranberries, candied pineapples and pre-cracked walnuts were used as shopped without further preparation.

The brandy may be consumed after removing the dates. However, oral incorporation of larger quantities over a short period of time have been reported to cause temporary reduction or loss of cognitive and motorical capabilities. Alternatively, the beaker glass can be dropped onto the kitchen floor from sufficient height to immediately spread out the leftovers over a large area in order to accomplish quick entropy-driven phase transfer dissipation. The remains of the beaker glass can later be collected with a broom and have no further usful application. The latter approach was employed by me.

Confectionery

Almond Balls Couvertured and Decorated with Chopped Nuts

Spheres of approximately 2–3 cm diameter were rolled from the almond and hazelnut marzipanoid and dipped into the molten chocolate. After allowing the chocolate to partially rinse off the remaining coating solidified at room temperature within about one hour. The Couvertured balls were then partially dipped into the chocolate again and rolled in chopped hazelnuts or pistachios.

Coconut Cylinders Couvertured and Decorated with Cranberries

Slightly prolate cylinders of approximately two centimeters diameter and three centimeters in height were pressed from the coconut marzipanoid. They were Couvertured with chocolate and a dried cranberry was placed atop of them into the warm chocolate.

Coconut-Hazelnut Cylinders Couvertured and Decorated with Walnuts

Oblate cylinders were pressed from coconut and hazelnut marzipanoid respectively and pressed together. They were Couvertured and a half walnut per item was placed into the warm chocolate.

Giant Coconut Balls Coated with Almond Couvertured and Rolled in Cocoa

Spheres of approximately two centimeters diameter were pressed from coconut marzipanoid. An equal amount of almond marzipanoid was formed into a thin sheet. The coconut ball was then wrapped into the sheet and Couvertured with dark chocolate. After solidification of the couverture, an additional small amount of molten chocolate was distributed on the surface immediately followed by rolling in cocoa powder.

Brandy Dates on Almond / Hazelnut Couvertured and Decorated with Walnuts

After having rinsed off, the soaked dates were cut in half and the kernel was removed. A small amount of almond or hazelnut marzipanoid was pressed onto the cut face. The items were then couvertured with chocolate and a half walnut was placed on top into the warm chocolate.

Candied Pineapples on Almond / Hazlenut Partially Couvertured

A small portion of hazlenut or almond marzipanoid was pressed onto a segment of a candied pineapple ring. The product was then dipped into molten chocolate just deep enough to cover all of the marzipanoid but leaving one face of the pineapple uncovered.

Figs on Almond / Hazlenut Partially Couvertured

Oblate disks of about three centimeters diameter were formed from almond or Hazlenut marzipanoid. The bottom of a dried fig was then dipped into molten chocolate and set upon the disks. When cooled down, the product was taken by the tip of the fig and dipped deep enough into the molten chocolate to cover all of the marzipanoid and about one fifth of the fig.

Winter-wonderland

As all marzipanoid was used up, the fruits were cut into thin slices. The remaining chocolate smelter was poured on a big sheet of grease-proof paper and distributed with a spoon to give a vaguely rectangular shape of constant thickness of about five millimeters. The surface was then decorated with the fruits to give the impression of plants. Chopped nuts were strewed along one edge to denote some solid ground. Very little salt was sprinkled over the surface when almost solidified.

Characterization

The cool products were cut in half along a vertical plane using a small kitchen knife and photographed. Degustation of one item per product followed. No deviation from the intended appearance or taste was encountered.

Discussion

Very low-sugar marzipanoids can be prepared from a variety of grouted nuts. When coated with dark chocolate, the products still don’t become too sweet. The natural taste of each type of nut is well preserved. The sweetness of dried fruits mixes well with the taste of the marzipanoids. Various fruits and nuts allow for an aesthetically pleasing decoration of the couvertured products.

Coconut marzipanoid was prepared for the first time. It was most difficult to form from all marzipanoids I have encountered so far. Adding little white chocolate was intended to improve the workability but I probably wouldn’t do it again.

The preparation process is simple but time consuming. When work time is an issue, commercially available cookies are economically much more feasible.

Leftovers can be arranged on the surface of spread out chocolate making the “winter-wonderland” give an impression of a surrealistic landscape of exotic plants trying and help you forget perhaps for a while your drab, wretched lives [3] in middle of pre-chistmassial shopping malls gone crazy with tinselly faked impressions of snowy forests.

References

  1. Marzipan. In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. 2011. Retrieved 04:47, December 22, 2011, from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Marzipan&oldid=466304116.
  2. Moritz Klammler, Unpublished results.
  3. Tom Lehrer, An Evening Wasted with Tom Lehrer. Lehrer Records, 1959.

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