Because of the preparation of German Christmas bread, stollen (Recipe: German Classic Christmas Bread Stollen (德国圣诞面包 – 史多伦）), I home made some marzipan or almond paste. Since i have some left over marzipan, I have decided to make it into a type of marzipan cookies which is common in Germany (known as Bethmann) and Italy (known as Amaretti Cookies).
Both the German and Italian versions are rather similar, using sugar and almond paste (aka marzipan) as the main ingredient. I did not follow exactly any recipes of the two countries but designed the recipe base on the same concept and ingredients with the objectives of tailoring the recipe to suit Asian taste buds.
When people talked about marzipan or almond paste, they will always think of store bought marzipan used for cake decoration. They started to get prejudice that these almond pastes are very sweet and they will not attempt to consume it. Wait, it may be true if you use store bought marzipan where there are commercial objectives that are designed to suit many purposes such as prolong shelf life, ideal for cake decoration, the right texture to facilitate shaping and etc… But for homemade marzipan, you can easily torn down the sugar. To me, even with a teaspoon of sugar, the almond paste can be easily prepared.
Most marzipan recipe will request equal amount of ground almond with equal amount of sugar. For this recipe, I have toned down the sweetness substantially. Only half the amount of sugar are used. Therefore, it is not sweet as the authentic traditional European recipes.
The main ingredients of these recipe are basically three : Ground almond and sugar and a binding agent . All other ingredients are considered as optional. It is gluten free as no flour was used. If you want to churn it into a vegan recipe, use light corn syrup instead of egg white as a binding agent. It is dairy free as no butter is used since almond blended will have almond oil secreted. If you do not have an oven, it can be a no baked cookies if you used light corn syrup instead of egg white as a binding agent.
To me, this is a healthy cookies and we are enjoying pure almond goodness. Of course, if you need traditional taste which I will list out as optional, you will need rose water, vanilla and etc.. To me, these will hinder the flavour of almond but the decision is up to individual.
WHAT IS REQUIRED
Servings: Prepare about 30 cookies
- 125 grams of almond meal or grounded almond flour
- 60 grams of icing sugar*
- 2 tablespoons of light corn syrup or golden syrup or egg white **
- 1 tablespoon of rose water –optional
- 1 teaspoon of almond extract or vanilla extract – optional
- 50 grams of chopped toasted nuts of your choice (almond, walnuts, pecan nuts, macadamia nuts) – optional
- Additional almond slices for coating – Optional
* 50 grams of icing sugar is just nice. If you have a sweet tooth, you can increase the sugar to the maximum of 120 grams.
** If you want to make it into a non bake version or vegan version, use light corn syrup instead of egg white.
STEPS OF PREPARATION
- Put all icing sugar, ground almond flour, almond essence and rose water. Give it a quick blend until well mix. Add the light corn syrup or egg white, blend until it forms a pliable dough. If it is too dry, keep blending and almond will start to excrete almond oil to enhance the moisture and hence binding.
- Transfer into a mixing bowl, add toasted chopped nuts of your choice and use hand to mix well. I preferred to have some chopped nuts to enhance the texture, negate the sweetness and improve the aroma.
- Pre-heat the oven to 150 degree Celsius.
- Take 1-2 tablespoons of dough, shape round and roll it in a bowl of sliced almond and ensure the dough is coated with sliced almond. Lightly flatten it and transfer to the baking tin .
- Bake in the pre-heated oven of 150 degree Celsius for 10-15 minutes for slightly crispy crust and colour. When cooled completely, store in an air tight container.
- If you do not wish to bake the cookies, the cookies are ready for serving as long as you shaped it (provided you used syrup instead of egg white as binding agent). Non bake cookies will have to be consumed as soon as possible.
This is a soft chewy cookies and I believed in a presentable gift during Christmas time. Forget about the term marzipan if you have a phobia of seeing this word, use almond paste instead. Technically, marzipan and almond paste are the same. Trust me that the cookies are not sweet and the preparation is very simple. What you are eating is a piece of delicious cookies that is made almost entirely from almond. Do give it a try and let me know if it suits your taste bud.
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