Holiday Cookies: Reader Linda Daniel's Chocolate Marzipan Cookies

Reader Linda Daniel's Chocolate Marzipan Cookie recipe. Photo: Morguefile.com

The memories of holidays past are triggered by the smells and flavors of the present.  For reader Linda Daniel the flavor that brings Christmas back to her are Chocolate Marzipan Cookies.

Marzipan, or almond paste, is a sweet paste made from powdered sugar and almond.  It can be commercially purchased, or if you are a purist you can make your own (recipe follows).

Chocolate Marzipan Cookies

Commercial marzipan

Commercial marzipan

Ingredients:

1 cup unsalted butter

1 cup packed light brown sugar

1 egg

2.5 cups all purpose flour

4 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

Almond paste (Odense brand) - do not use marzipan paste

1. Preheat oven to 375 F. Place parchment paper on two large baking sheets.

2. Cream butter with sugar in bowl until pale and fluffy. Add the egg and beat well.

3. Sift the flour and cocoa over the mixture and stir in, first with a wooden spoon, then with clean hands pressing the mixture together to make a fairly soft dough. Do not use an electric mixture to mix in flour….

4. Roll out half the dough on a lightly floured surface to a thickness of 1/4 inch. Using a 2 inch cookie cutter, cut out in rounds, rerolling the dough as required until you have about 36 rounds.

5. Cut the almond paste and roll into balls and flatten slightly. Place one on each round of dough. Roll out the remaining dough, cut out more rounds, then place on top of the almond paste. Press the edges together to seal.

6. Bake for 10-12 minutes.

Marzipan Recipe from About.com

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/8 tsp cream of tartar
  • 4 cups ground almonds (or almond meal)
  • 2 egg whites
  • Powdered sugar for dusting

Preparation:

1. Prepare a workspace by sprinkling powdered sugar over a marble slab, wooden cutting board, or large baking sheet. Fill your sink or a large bowl with cold water.

2. Place the sugar and 2/3 cup water in a large heavy saucepan and heat gently, stirring, until the sugar dissolves.

3. Add the cream of tartar and turn up the heat. Bring to a boil and cover, boiling, for 3 minutes.

4. Uncover and boil until the temperature reaches soft-ball stage, 240 degrees on a candy thermometer.

5. Place the bottom of the saucepan in the cold water you’ve prepared, stirring the sugar mixture constantly until it becomes thick and creamy.

6. Stir in the ground almonds and the egg whites, the place back over low heat and stir for 2 minutes more until the mixture is thick.

7. Spoon the marzipan onto your prepared work surface, and turn it with a metal spatula until it cools down enough to touch.

8. Coat your hands in powdered sugar and begin to knead the marzipan, working it until it is smooth and pliant.

9. Your marzipan can now be used immediately or stored by wrapping it in plastic wrap and keeping it in an airtight container.


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