Halloween 2020 is already here! And on a Saturday, or as we like to say, Saffron Saturdays. A great day to make a marzipan with saffron to decorate your cookies. Such a treat! Saffron gives homemade marzipan not only a special flavor but also a stunning natural orange color – perfect for Halloween! Real marzipan is vegan and contains only two ingredients, almonds and confectioners’ sugar.
Make sure to use whole almonds. Commercial almond flour is too dry and not suitable for homemade marzipan.
The marzipan can be rolled out and cut into desired shapes with cookie cutters. Use it to decorate cookies, cupcakes, pumpkin pie, pastries, and desserts of all sorts. It keeps its vibrant color and shape better if you add it after baking.
When stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator, the marzipan keeps for about one week.
½ cup shelled and blanched whole almonds
2/3 cup confectioners’ sugar
- Place the almonds in the food processor and turn on the machine. Stop the machine as needed to scrape down the sides of the food processor bowl and over the bottom. Process until all the almonds are finely ground.
- Add the confectioners’ sugar and process until powdery. Add water, ¼ teaspoon at a time, and let the machine run until a thick, smooth paste forms. Add the saffron and process until the marzipan is evenly colored. Again, scrape down the sides and over the bottom of the food processor bowl to ensure even mixing. Depending on how moist the marzipan is, the color might not be easily absorbed in the food processor. If that happens, remove it and knead the marzipan thoroughly with your hands.
- Transfer the marzipan to a container with a tight-fitting lid and cover. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours, better overnight. The resting time is needed so the marzipan can be rolled out.
Lightly dust a rolling pin and a large cutting board or a clean work surface with confectioners’ sugar. Roll out the marzipan about ¼ inch thick or thicker, as desired. Cut out shapes of your choice using cookie cutters.
Makes about ¾ cup.
Tip: When decorating simple shortbread cookies with saffron marzipan, you can additionally brush the cookies with honey and sprinkle them with toasted chopped pumpkin seeds or nuts, as shown in the photo.
Photo Credit: Ted Rosen