How to make Marzipan – Vegan & Sugar-free Version Included


Learn how to make marzipan at home using simple ingredients. Recipe for Sugar-free and vegan marzipan included! Use this authentic German marzipan recipe for baking and cake decoration.

a small glass bowl filled with homemade marzipan cut into small chunks

Learn how to make marzipan at home 

Ok people, no time for pleasantries today because we are dealing with one of the fundamental elements of the holiday season. Without this cornerstone of the Christmas spirit, the yuletide just will. not. work…

I am speaking, of course, about marzipan. Now, some of you may disagree, but rest assured: Marzipan is incredibly delicious.  But we all know it’s also quite expensive to buy.  So why not learn how to make your own marzipan for this year’s Christmas cookies and holiday baking!  The good news is that marzipan and almond paste are super easy and quick to make at home using simple ingredients! And with my easy recipe, you can even make it sugar-free and vegan. This is simply the BEST homemade marzipan!

close-up of a small bowl filled with homemade marzipan made without sugar

What is Marzipan 

I can accept, however, that if you’re reading this from somewhere in the Americas, that nobody has ever actually taken the time to explain marzipan to you. We faced this in our own household when my husband almost derailed our wedding when he told me he didn’t want any marzipan in the wedding cake because he had tried it once and it was gross. 

The thing is though – that one time he tried it? – his grandmother’s family had all come to Canada from Germany way back in the day, and back in Germany – even to this day – it is common to get marzipan moulded and painted in the form of a pig at New Year’s as a token of good luck. 

His grandmother had one of said pigs sitting on her mantle, and somebody had made the mistake of telling my husband that the little piggy toy on the mantle was actually made of candy. The inevitable happened, and when he took his first bite, it was godawful – almost poison. I will defend him here in this one thing though: marzipan is indeed gross, when it has been sitting on granny’s mantle collecting dust for YEARS!!!

Until he tried my homemade marzipan, he thought it was some sort of vaguely edible construction material, like fancy-pants European Play-Doh. Oh let me tell you, learning how to make marzipan will convert many a marzipan hater in your family to a fan.

a block of homemade marzipan next to a small bowl with blanched almond flour

History of marzipan

The truth is, there are marzipan traditions all over Europe and Asia, with dozens regional variations. The first written record that we have of it is from 1512, or possibly even 850 but that was a Persian doctor using it as medicine. We have no idea who invented it though (naturally, I believe it was the Germans) or even where the name comes from. Not all of these traditions involve marzipan that you want to eat though, as strange as that sounds. It’s just that it makes such a good medium for sculpture that people get a little carried away sometimes and at some point it ceases to be ‘food’ and wanders into the realm of ‘art’ with a confused look on its face.

If you really want to understand how good marzipan can be though, learn how to make marzipan at home! 

homemade German Marzipan and Pear Loaf Cake

Uses for homemade marzipan

Anyways, besides eating it as a sweet, there are hundreds – thousands – of baking recipes out there that include marzipan, and a lot of them are very near-and-dear to my heart. 

Ingredients for making marzipan at home: 

Almonds

Marzipan and almond paste can get rather pricey.  Now, it is possible to grind your own almonds from scratch, but be aware that it’s a touch more complicated than it sounds. You need to get the skins off the almonds if you do this. This can be done by soaking them in near-boiling water for 5 minutes to loosen the skins, then methodically going through with your fingers to take off all their little jackets. If you’ve ever done this to chickpeas, it’s equally monotonous.

Once you’ve gotten them undressed, they can be blitzed in a blender or food processor until very fine, but then you need to wait for it to dry out, as the meal will be quite ‘wet’ because of the oil content.

I cheat and buy almond flour. Along with being far simpler and quicker, it also produces more reliable results. Just make sure that the flour was made from blanched almonds with no skins.

almond flour in a small dish for marzipan recipe

Sugar

You will want to use icing sugar 

Egg whites 

Egg whites serve as a binding agent. 

Aromatics 

Almond Extract and Rosewater is what we are using here. 

Can I make sugar-free marzipan?

As much as I love it, marzipan has tons of sugar. If this doesn’t concern you go ahead and use the same amount of regular sugar to what I have posted in the ingredients below.

For alternative sweeteners, I recommend something based on erythritol (like Swerve) or something based on monk fruit. I avoid stevia for this because it gives it a slightly bitter taste.

Most importantly: you want icing sugar (sometimes called confectioner’s sugar), not granulated. This applies to artificial sweeteners equally. You need something that is going to dissolve easily into the almond paste, and there’s not enough water in the mixture to easily dissolve granules.

Almond Paste vs Marzipan

In Europe it’s widely referred to as marzipan – in North America, the term almond paste is more common.  However, there’s also a difference in the ratio of almonds to sugar as well as consistency.  Almond paste is quite a bit softer and more often used in baked goods.  Marzipan is firmer and is used in making candies/chocolates or as decoration for cakes.  

If we’re being full-on technical about it, almond paste traditionally uses only almond extract, while marzipan uses both almond extract and rosewater.

This bit is totally up to you – I happen to love rosewater and always put it in regardless. Make sure you get food grade rosewater (yes, there are other grades; no, I don’t know why you would bother) and do your best to pick up a decent almond extract. Both items last forever in the cupboard so you can spend a little more and not worry about spoilage.

Can I make vegan marzipan?

Finally, if you would prefer this recipe to be vegan, or if the egg white makes you nervous (it’s safe, we have tested this on legions of German Kinder) you can substitute corn syrup.

homemade vegan marzipan cut into pieces in a small glass

How to make Marzipan – Tips: 

  • Whichever brand of rose water you buy, make sure it is food-grade rose water not cosmetics.
  • You also want to use good quality almond extract.
  • If your marzipan is too wet, add more powdered sugar and ground almonds in equal amounts.  But always keep in mind though that it will become firmer after it’s been refrigerated.
  • Homemade marzipan will keep in the refrigerator for several weeks (provided you used very fresh egg white).

How to make Marzipan at home

Learn how to make marzipan at home using simple ingredients. Recipe for Sugar-free and vegan marzipan included! Use this authentic German marzipan recipe for baking and cake decoration.

Course Dessert, Snack
Cuisine germany
Keyword easy marzipan recipe, homemade almond paste, how to make marzipan
Cook Time 5 minutes
chilling 2 hours
Servings 12

Ingredients

  • cups almond flour/meal very finely ground, blanched
  • cups sweetener icing sugar - I used Swerve Confectioners sugar to keep things sugarfree
  • 2 tsp pure almond extract
  • 1 tsp rosewater
  • 1 egg white or 3-4 Tbsp corn syrup for the vegan option

Instructions

  1. Put both the almond flour and the sweetener into a food processor and give it a few quick pulses to help break up any lumps.
  2. Add your almond extract, and rosewater if you're using it. Pulse a few times again to get the mixing started
  3. Finally, add your egg white and blitz until it all comes together into a firm mass. If you feel that it is too wet or isn’t forming an almost pasta-like lump in the food processor, add small amounts of both sweetener and almonds in equal amounts until you’re happy with it. It will get a little firmer in the fridge.
  4. For storage, you want no air to contact the marzipan, so no Tupperware or foil-covered bowls. Roll the marzipan into whatever shape you please and wrap the whole thing in saran-wrap. This will keep for two to three weeks in the fridge - a bit longer if you used corn syrup instead of egg white. The important thing is really just keeping it from drying out.

Recipe Notes

  • Whichever brand of rose water you buy, make sure it is food-grade rose water not cosmetic.
  • You also want to use good quality almond extract.
  • If your marzipan is too wet, add more powdered sugar and ground almonds.  But always keep in mind though that it will become firmer after it’s been refrigerated.
  • Homemade marzipan will keep in the refrigerator for several weeks (provided you used very fresh egg white).

 


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