What are the best tips for making marzipan?

A cupcake decorated with marzipan roses.

Marzipan is a confection made with a combination of ground almonds, egg whites and cream of tartar sweetened with granulated sugar. The most important tip for making marzipan is to heat the cooked ingredients to the specified temperature, as cooking this delicacy is a bit of a science. Reasons to make marzipan include eating it alone as a dessert, using it to dip in chocolate to form a candy, or shaping it to form shapes that could decorate a larger dessert. Preparation steps vary depending on how it will be used.

Granulated sugar, with which marzipan is made.

The essential cooking step in making marzipan is when the sugar is mixed with water and cream of tartar in a pan and boiled. A candy thermometer should be used to keep a close eye on the temperature until it reaches 240° Fahrenheit (approximately 116° Celsius) and acquires a soft, gooey consistency. Overheating the mixture will create a hardened caramel consistency that can be remedied by adding more water and sugar and then putting it back on the heat to soften.

Almonds, which are used to make marzipan.

It is important to work quickly when making the marzipan once the soft caramel has been created. The hot pan should be placed in a cold sink of water and the ground almonds and egg whites scrambled until well combined. Heat is applied again for a few minutes while a clean cutting board is dusted with powdered sugar to prevent sticking. Hot marzipan can be placed on the surface if eaten plain or left to harden so it can be dipped in melted chocolate.

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Heated marzipan must be placed directly into a mold.

The recipe when making marzipan for molded decorations can be changed to include the color. A few drops of food coloring can be added after adding the ground almonds. However, marzipan may require extra dye because of its beige base color, so make sure you have enough dye on hand to achieve your desired hue.

Heat-resistant candy molds, which feature several small pits with shapes like flowers or letters, can be used to make marzipan. The heated marzipan should be placed directly into a form that has been lightly dusted with icing sugar, taking care to keep the candy inside the wells. Placing the mold in the fridge or freezer will speed up the marzipan’s hardening process and allow it to be used earlier as a decoration. Marzipan pieces can be taken out of the mold by turning it upside down and pressing or tapping firmly on the bottom.

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