Marzipan is a type of confectionary often made from ground almonds, sugar, and egg whites.
It has a sweet, nutty flavor that some find reminiscent of almond butter.
While it originated in Europe centuries ago, the candy is now enjoyed around the world and often used to make decorative sculptures or desserts.
Whether you’re curious to try it or looking for an exciting new holiday treat to whip up at home, here’s what you need to know about marzipan: its flavors and uses, as well as some helpful tips for making your own.
What is Marzipan?
Marzipan is an almond sweet confection made with ground almonds, sugar, and egg whites.
It is commonly used as a cake decoration or a sweet treat to be enjoyed on its own.
It can also be blended into other desserts like pudding or ice cream for an extra almondy flavor.
Marzipan originated in the Middle East and parts of Europe and has become increasingly popular in recent years, gaining fans from all over the world.
Marzipan tastes subtly sweet with a slight nuttiness coming from the almonds.
The texture is firm yet pliable, like cookie dough without the bite of raw ingredients.
The more finely ground the nuts are, the more delicate and smooth the mix will be to work with.
Lastly, some recipes include flavoring extracts like vanilla or almond into their marzipan making it slightly sweeter and adding extra nutty-ness to it overall.
What Does Marzipan Taste Like?
Marzipan has been a staple of bakeries across Europe since the Middle Ages, but it has only recently become popular in other parts of the world.
Marzipan has a flavor profile that can be described as almondy with notes of sweetness and a hint of rosewater.
It can be eaten on its own as-is or used as a topping for cakes and pastries.
In addition to traditional ingredients, marzipan may also contain other flavorings such as lemon zest or cocoa powder.
No matter which ingredients are used, once heated and cooled appropriately the resultant liquid paste sets into a dense mass that can be worked with kitchen tools similar to dough but characterized more like modeling clay.
So what does marzipan taste like? The base flavor is almondy with notes of sweetness and rosewater, along with subtle flavors thrown in depending on the additional ingredients used.
If you’ve never tried it before, think of an almond-flavored sugar cookie dough – slightly sweet yet dense enough to play with.
Ingredients in Marzipan that Affect its Taste
Marzipan is a sweet treat made of almonds, sugar and sometimes other ingredients.
The main ingredients in marzipan are almond meal and powdered sugar, which contribute to its sweet taste.
However, there are a few other ingredients that help to add an extra dimension to its flavor.
Some examples include orange zest for a citrusy kick, rosewater for floral notes and food-grade glycerin for moisture.
All these ingredients combine to create a unique flavor experience with each bite.
While the exact recipe for marzipan varies from region to region and even baker to baker, the essential ingredients remain largely consistent.
Almond meal provides the nutty flavor that marzipan is known for, while sugar gives it that classic sweetness.
To really bring out the flavors of the almond meal and sugar, additional spices or extracts may be added such as cinnamon or vanilla extract.
Additionally, different types of nuts like hazelnuts or pistachios may also be used in place of almonds depending on personal preference or area customs.
Although marzipan’s flavor profile can vary slightly based on region and its various ingredients, overall it has a pronounced almond flavor with just enough sweetness to make it enjoyable without cloying your taste buds.
1 – Almonds
Marzipan has a distinctive taste that makes it an ideal choice for candies and desserts.
In addition to almonds, marzipan is made of sugar, honey, corn syrup and sometimes rose or orange water.
The overall flavor of marzipan is sweet and nutty, thanks to the almonds used in its creation.
The almond flavor comes from the fact that fresh almonds are typically used in the production of marzipan.
Almonds have a rich flavor profile with notes of butter, toast, pine and even subtle hints of cherry or peach.
When combined with sugar, honey and other components found in marzipan, the result is an intense almond flavor profile with an undertone of sweetness.
The texture of marzipan also adds to its signature taste.
Marzipan does not melt when heated or softened when left out at room temperature meaning it will stay firm which adds texture to baked goods or candy decorating applications.
Additionally, marzipan has a slightly gritty texture from all the finely ground almond meal used in its creation creating an interesting toothsome bite.
2 – Sugar
Marzipan is a confection made up of primarily sugar and almonds.
The sugar syrup and/or honey used to sweeten marzipan also plays a big role in determining its flavor.
Granulated sugar, sometimes combined with brown sugar, gives marzipan its classic sweet taste—but it can also range from very mildly sweet to reminscent of honey.
Sugar is generally the main flavor component of marzipan, with the almond flavor only serving as an accent.
That said, different types of almonds will affect the taste as well — from blanched almonds to bitter almond extract — so experimentation will help determine which one you prefer.
3 – Flavorings
In addition to the ingredients already mentioned, marzipan can include various flavorings.
While almonds and sugar are often used as the primary flavors, marzipan can be flavored with a variety of spices, extracts, liqueurs and essences such as vanilla and almond extract.
Any type of flavorings may be used to enhance the taste of the marzipan.
Some common flavors that are added to marzipan include orange and lemon zest, rosewater, fruits (such as apricots or figs) and nuts (such as pistachios or hazelnuts).
Depending on the recipe used, chocolate may also be added for a richer chocolatey flavor.
How is Marzipan Used in Baking and Confections?
Marzipan is often used in a variety of desserts and confections.
It is particularly popular in Germany and the Mediterranean region, found in many pastries, such as nougats, spiced with cinnamon and almonds.
Marzipan is also popular as a decoration on cakes and other confections along with fondant or royal icing.
In Eastern Europe, marzipan is made with apricot kernels while German marzipan includes crushed hazelnuts or pistachios.
In England, it’s common to shape the sweet paste into figures that resemble fruits and vegetables to decorate cakes called marzipan fruits.
The natural sugar content within the marzipan makes it ideal for creating intricate shapes.
Shapes can then be covered with colorings or edible glitters for a delightful finish.
It’s no wonder why marzipan has become increasingly popular in the baking industry over recent years.
Popular Varieties of Marzipan
Marzipan is a sweet and versatile candy ingredient that comes in many forms.
Made from almond paste, sugar and egg whites, marzipan is used to make confections such as petits fours and wedding cakes.
It’s also used in a variety of desserts like linzer cookies and stuffed peaches.
The most popular varieties of marzipan include traditional, bitter, dark chocolate and tricolore.
- Traditional Marzipan: Traditional marzipan is the classic version with a sweet almond flavor. It’s made from blanched almonds which are ground into an almond paste with egg whites and powdered sugar. The mixture is shaped and molded into whatever design you want (like animals or fruits) to create edible figurines or simply rolled into balls for confectionery treats like marzipan-covered chocolates or cake decorations.
- Bitter Marzipan: Bitter marzipan will have an intensely nutty flavor due to the addition of bitter almond extract which gives it its distinctive taste. The bitterness added by the extract gives a unique depth to baked goods like liebeskugeln (marble-sized sweets) as well as glazes for toffee apples and other desserts.
- Dark Chocolate Marzipan: Dark chocolate marzipan has all the richness of traditional marzipian but with the added boost of cocoa powder for an intense chocolaty flavor. This type of marzpan is perfect for coating cakes and cookies, or using as a filling in chocolates. You can also find it pre-made in stores ready to add extra indulgence to your next baking project.
- Tricolore Marzipan: Tricolore marzpan combines different kinds of nuts such as almonds, hazelnuts, pistachios or walnuts providing three distinct flavors that mingle together perfectly when eaten together – creating something truly special. Add this type of marzpan atop tarts or pies before baking; use it as stuffing inside croissants; mix it up with different spices to make flavorful rolls; press some into pound cake layers – there are so many ways you can enjoy tricolore’s unique flavor profile.
Where to Buy Marzipan and How to Store It
If you’re wondering where to buy marzipan and how to store it properly, you’ve come to the right place.
Marzipan is a sweet almond paste that is available in markets near you, or even available for purchase online.
Most grocery stores carry marzipan, which usually comes in rolls or blocks.
Be sure to check the expiration date before purchasing it as it tends to dry out quickly and lose its flavor once opened.
When shopping for marzipan in stores, look for products with an even texture and color.
Dark spots could be an indication of over-roasting while softness with a cold feel is an indication of rancidity.
You can also buy pre-made decorations like strawberries, apples and other sweet treats from specialty baking supply stores or online retailers.
Marzipan should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator as soon as you get it home as it has a short shelf life due to its high sugar content.
Be sure to use it within 2 weeks of opening or purchase unless otherwise stated on the package instructions.
Once opened, store any extra marzipan tightly wrapped inside aluminum foil or placed within an airtight plastic container when storing at room temperature away from direct sunlight.
In conclusion, marzipan not only looks beautiful and festive, but also tastes amazing.
It has a rich almond flavor that is balanced by its natural sweetness.
With just a few main ingredients, it’s easy to make at home and can be used in many different ways to enhance a variety of dishes.
Marzipan gives any festive celebration a touch of sophistication, making it the perfect addition for any occasion.
Whether you choose to make it from scratch at home or to buy prepared versions from stores, this confectionary is sure to be a hit with both young and old.
Carrie is a food writer and editor with more than 15 years of experience. She has worked for some of the biggest names in the food industry, including Bon Appétit, Food & Wine, and Martha Stewart Living.
As the Editor in Chief of IntroChicago.com, Carrie oversees all of the content on the site. She also manages the team of contributing writers and editors, who help to create delicious recipes, helpful tips, and informative articles that you’ll find on the site.
A native of the Chicago area, Carrie is passionate about all things food. She loves trying new restaurants and experimenting with new recipes in her kitchen. She’s also a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, so she knows a thing or two about food!