We’re so close now. Christmas is here and so are the last stages of gift buying and wrapping. For the last few years I’ve made various edible gifts, and the best ones now come back annually. Candied clementine slices dipped in chocolate are a must, and always disappear before new year. This year in particular I’m trying to cut down on unnecessary presents, and only give things that will last or be loved, even if that’s just something small.
After all my experimenting with nut-free marzipan for my Nut-free Stollen, I decided to make some individual little chocolate coated marzipans for gifts. I played around a little with the marzipan, adding ground pumpkin seeds for an extra creamy texture. It also gives a lovely light green colour to the marzipan and a subtle flavour which is very moreish. They also utilise my favourite new spice, mahleb, for the almond flavour without the need for nuts. Not only are the resulting marzipan treats nut-free, they are also vegan, so will make a perfect gift for nearly everyone.
The flavour of these nut-free chocoalte marzipans is hard to describe. Rich and almondy, sweet but not too sweet, with the dark chocolate adding to the intensity. The texture is yielding and very moreish. All my taste testers really enjoyed them (the boyf polished off the box after I’d taken these photos).
For pretty, even shapes, I used silicone ice cube trays. Pick something simple shaped for an easy life, otherwise its very hard to get them out intact. Even a plain ice cube tray would work. If you don’t have one around, roll the marzipan into a log and cut into even rounds after freezing. Make sure that you don’t skip the freezing stage in the recipe though – it really helps coat the marzipan with a thin, even layer of chocolate.
For a final festive touch, I brushed each chocolate marzipan with gold. You could add dried edible flowers, sprinkles or edible gold leaf for an equally pretty touch. Then pop them in little box and give them to your friends and family, or take them to have after Christmas dinner with a coffee. You’ll be able to squeeze one in, and everyone will be able to enjoy them, whether they have a nut allergy or not.
Recipe: Nut-free Marzipan Chocolates
Ingredients: Nut-free Marzipan Chocolates
Makes approximately 15-20 small marzipan shapes
70g icing sugar
35g ground roasted pumpkin seeds
1 tsp custard powder
1.5tsp ground mahleb
1-2 tbsp aquafaba (liquid from a tin of chickpeas)
100g dark chocolate, for dipping
Edible shimmer powder and a few drops of plain flavoured alchohol
Method: Nut-free Marzipan Chocolates
- Add the icing sugar, semolina, ground pumpkin seeds, custard powder and mahleb to a bowl and whisk to combine. Add half the aquafab and mix together. If it comes together into a stiff paste, great. If you have some dusty bits left, add more aquafaba until the consistency is right.
- Push pieces into a silicone mold, pushing down hard to ensure they fill evenly. Pop the try in the freezer to firm up and get cold. If you don’t have a mold, roll into a log and freeze, the cut into rounds before the next step.
- Melt 2/3 of the dark chocolate in a bowl over simmering water. Whilst its melting, finely chop the rest of the chocolate. Once the chocolate in the bowl has melted, take off the heat and add the chopped chocolate. Wait a few seconds and then stir until all melted together.
- Take the marzipan out of the freezer and carefully tease out of the mold. Slide a cocktail stick into the bottom of a chocolate and dip in the melted chocolate, letting the excess drip off. Place on a drying rack. Repeat until they are all coated.
- Once the chocolate has set, add a few drops of alcohol to the shimmer powder and mix. Brush onto the top of each chocolate.