Though it's often thought of as a European confection today, marzipan has its roots in the Arab world, where it's believed the ground-almond-based dough was discovered by Crusaders who brought it to Europe around the Middle Ages.Sometimes it's used as a filling or a coating for cake, but it's best known as a kind of edible dough used to make decorative edible fruits, animals and figures. Marzipan is sold ready made, or you can make it out of almond paste, corn syrup and icing sugar.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- 1 cup sugar
- Waxed paper
- Gel food colouring
- Icing sugar
Combine 1 cup of sugar and 1 cup of water in a saucepan and heat on low, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Remove the saucepan from the heat and allow it to cool.
Knead your marzipan until it's pliable, but not too soft or sticky. Cut the marzipan so that there's a piece for each colour you need.
Colour the marzipan by kneading in gel food dye one to two drops at a time until the desired colour is reached. If the marzipan becomes sticky, knead in some icing sugar. Wash your hands thoroughly between kneading different colours.
Shape the trunk of the body first, moulding the pieces in the colours of the clothing. The legs should be wide enough at the base to stand up. Make a small ball shape for the head and two small ropes for arms. Attach the pieces of marzipan together using the sugar syrup as a "glue."
Make the feet, which will help to balance the body. Alternatively, you can skip the feet and balance the figure on a long skirt.
Add details such as hair, a hat or other accessories.
Create a face and other fine features with the sharp end of a toothpick.
Tips and warnings
- If you have sugar syrup left over, you can use it to sweeten iced tea or sweet cocktails.
- Don't make your figure top-heavy. Avoid thin legs and a big head; instead, distribute the weight of the figure as evenly as possible.
- Don't use liquid food colouring to dye marzipan, as it will make it too soft and sticky to work with.
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