Whenever there was a special occasion growing up, marzipan was my treat of choice. It was not available in the small town I grew up in - except for a short time when there was a much-loved (by me) candy store downtown - so it was only on birthdays and other holidays when I would get it. It came in a shallow little green mesh box, divided into 9 separate spaces. In each space was a molded marzipan fruit or vegetable, airbrushed some bright color or another. Thinking about it now, it sounds slightly repulsive, but back then it was magical. I would savor each piece, trying to stretch out my enjoyment as long as possible, but the marzipan never lasted more than a couple hours at best.
I was trying to come up with something to post that would be Valentine's Day appropriate, though sophisticated - nothing red, heart-shaped or containing catchy sentimental phrases. Not that there's anything wrong with those things, I'm just not so much in the Valentine's spirit this year.
These are treats that you could give anyone you love on V-Day, not just a significant other. They are also ridiculously simple to make.
They taste better than any marzipan I've ever eaten. They taste fresh, which is not usually something you get with the electric red strawberry-shaped version. They are moist, not too sweet, and tender. The store-bought variety can tend towards rubbery, and these are anything but.
If you have molds, you could certainly use them to make fun marzipan shapes. I rolled my marzipan out and used my smallest biscuit cutter.
If you need a last-minute Valentine to give someone, these are perfect. They are delicious, beautiful and only take about an hour from start to finish - including time for the chocolate to set.
Chocolate-Dipped Marzipan Coins
adapted from Smitten Kitchen
8 ounces blanched almonds
1 1/2 cups confectioner's sugar
1 tablespoon almond extract
4-5 tablespoons corn syrup*
3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, tempered
Place almonds in food processor. Grind to a fine powder, then process a little longer. About 2 minutes in all. Scrape bowl, and add confectioner's sugar and almond extract, process until well combined. Add corn syrup* and process for another minute. The mixture will be crumbly, but when you squeeze a bit of it, it should form a cohesive piece. Turn mixture out onto a board and knead until it comes together. Form a log, wrap in plastic and place in freezer while you temper the chocolate.
To temper chocolate: Place 2.5 ounces in a heat-proof bowl placed over a pot of simmering water. Melt chocolate, stirring frequently. When temperature is over 105, add remaining .5 ounces of chocolate and stir until melted. When the chocolate cools to 90 degrees, it is ready. Keep it at this temperature while you're dipping.
When the chocolate is ready, remove the marzipan from the freezer and roll it out to about 1/4" thick. Using a cookie cutter, biscuit cutter, knife, etc... cut out shapes as desired. Dip into chocolate, and place on a piece of parchment until chocolate is set.
* I've had a couple of comments from people who have made this, saying that the marzipan was extremely sticky and difficult to roll out. My suggestion is to start with 4 tablespoons of corn syrup, and test the marzipan to see if it stays together when squeezed in a clump. If it is still crumbly, add the additional tablespoon. You can also try dusting your rolling surface & pin with powdered sugar, though I have made this twice in the last couple of weeks and didn't need any, so the ideal is to have marzipan that is soft, moist, not crumbly and not sticky (though it will be slightly oily from the natural oils in the almonds).