I have a confession, I am addicted to marzipan as well as chocolate! So when I was asked to come up with an idea for an edible gift for Christmas that a child could help with, my mind immediately turned to marzipan. As a child I would make marzipan balls dipped in chocolate with my mother at Christmas time but we would just use the raw Danish marzipan that you could buy. I think marzipan is a bit like marmite, you either love it or hate it, my son won’t touch it. Anyway speaking to my mother the other day she told me all about the mock marzipan her and her sisters used to make using ground oats and vanilla essence instead of almonds. They would then use food colouring to make green, pink and white layers which they would then cut into diamonds. It’s amazing the things you never knew about your parents isn’t it!
I think I will try making this mock marzipan one day but this story was the inspiration for my Neapolitan Marzipan Chocolates. As my treats were for Christmas I used real almonds and added the extra luxury of dark chocolate as it is such a wonderful contrast to the sweet marzipan. My husband said these chocolates were better than any shop bought chocolates he’d tasted and after giving a bag to both our mums they agreed. Very professional was the verdict. Not bad considering my 10 year daughter did most of the work and I just rolled out the marzipan and did the chocolate dipping it was a real team effort. I think she particularly enjoyed decorating the chocolates at the end with the flaked almonds and picking out the best ones.
I worked out that the 40 generous sized chocolates cost about £4 to make which if you wrapped into 5 cellophane packages (or roasting bags cut flat) of 8 chocolates each (130g) it would cost you 80p per gift. That is a phenomenal saving as marzipan chocolates cost about £5 per 100g off the shelf on average and even more if they are handmade.
I would be over the moon if someone made these Neapolitan Marzipan Chocolates for me so if you know someone who loves marzipan and you have a willing helper in the kitchen I thoroughly recommend you make these. Think how impressed your child’s teacher would be to receive such a thoughtful gift too!
- 200g Ground Almonds
- 200g Icing Sugar
- 2 Egg Whites (medium size)
- ½ tsp Vanilla extract
- Few drops of red food colouring
- Few drops of green food colouring (or mixture of yellow & blue)
- 250g Dark chocolate (I used value)
- 40 Flaked almond slivers (approx)
- Mix the ground almonds and icing together thoroughly.
- Whisk the egg whites and add to the mixture together with the almond extract to form a dough using a wooden spoon or your hand.
- Weigh the marzipan out into 3 equal portions and wrap 2 portions in cling film.
- To the unwrapped portion add a few drops of green food colouring and knead the colour into the marzipan on an icing sugar dusted work surface until colour is totally mixed in. If necessary add more food colouring to get a good green colour.
- Wrap the green marzipan in cling film and then take another portion and with the same process as above work in the red food colouring until a subtle pink is achieved. The last portion is left white.
- Divide a portion of marzipan into 2 and then roll out into long thin sausages with your hands (dusting the work surface again with icing sugar).
- Using a rolling pin flatten the marzipan sausages to get to a width of 2 – 2 ½ cm.
- Repeat for the other 2 portions of marzipan and lay the pink, green and white flattened strips on top of each other in 2 separate bricks.
- You can use your hands to neaten the sides.
- Cut the marzipan bricks with a sharp knife at an angle to form diamond shapes the whole way along. Then cover them in cling film.
- Now melt the dark chocolate by breaking it up and putting it in a bowl over a pan of simmering water. Once it has started to melt well you can turn the heat off.
- Using 2 forks dip each marzipan diamond into the chocolate and on lifting out scrape away excess chocolate from base.
- Carefully slide each chocolate marzipan onto a sheet of baking paper.
- Decorate each chocolate with a sliver of flaked almond.
- Place in the fridge for 10 minutes to allow to set.
- Remove chocolates from the baking paper trimming away excess chocolate with a sharp knife if necessary.
- Wrap chocolates in cellophane parcels (I use roasting bags) with a ribbon or place in pretty boxes
- Best eaten within a week (if you can make them last that long)!
As these Neapolitan Marzipan Chocolates are so thrifty using value chocolate and far cheaper than any you could buy I am entering them into Credit Crunch Munch which I run with Helen and is this month hosted by Elizabeth.
NB: Recipe previously featured on Great British Chefs 7/12/2013.