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If you’re like me, you’ve heard of marzipan but had no idea what it was. It sounds like something fanciful and tricky that only a pastry chef would use. To my surprise, I learned that it is an easy-to-make, almond “playdough”. It can be eaten as-is or incorporated into other recipes.
In fact, during my research into the treats represented in the Nutcracker, I learned that many old-fashioned European, Middle-Eastern and Asian sweets incorporate almonds. This makes sense. Almonds would have been commonplace in the Middle-East and Asia and a real treat in Europe.
It takes inspiration to try something new, like making marzipan. What a better place to find it than a book? Our days begin and end with cuddles, and the kids love it when I read to them from The Story Orchestra: The Nutcracker. Here, you can see Emma’s enthusiasm for the project. Making yummy, nutty cookies sounded like a good idea on a crisp, autumn day.
I found a promising recipe on Pinterest: BEST Marzipan and Almond Paste Recipe. In keeping with many other old recipes, marzipan calls for rose water. I made my own, this summer, and froze portions in muffin tins. (I’ll go into that in depth when we tackle the Waltz of the Flowers.)
We kept some of the marzipan out for the cookie recipe. Then, we formed the rest into a log, wrapped it in plastic, and stuck it in the fridge. This German Mandelhörnchen recipe came from the same site as the marzipan one did. It sounds very legit and Nutcracker-y, doesn’t it?
Annika loves playdough, so she got right into the marzipan cookie action! The cute aprons were from Ikea.
These cookies only required a few other ingredients, aside from the marzipan. The final steps were rolling the dough into little logs, brushing them with egg whites, rolling them in sliced almonds, and bending them into “U” shapes on the baking sheets.
The other kids ditched us for this part, but Emma stuck with me. We baked the cookies and decided not to dip their ends in chocolate. Don’t get me wrong…We love chocolate! However, chocolate + costumes = BIG no-no! Maybe I’ll get around to adding the chocolate to the leftover ones, at some point.
And, here are our little Marzipan Elves enjoying our marzipan cookies! Well, Emma and Annika enjoyed them. Elliott, Eliza and Oliver weren’t into them.
Whatevs. More for those of us with good taste! Amiright? Speaking of taste, these cookies have a consistency between a sugar cookie and a shortbread, and are richly flavored with the heady, almost-floral taste of almonds!
Look as those lovely, wool mitts! Would you believe that they were made from old socks, scraps of trim, and vintage buttons? Well, be on the lookout for an upcoming post, and I’ll show you how the kids and I made them!
More Nutcracker Content
- DIY Upcycled Wool Mitts and Pins: Follow this link for a tutorial on how to make these beautiful mitts and coordinating pins.
- Marzipan Reed Flutes – Homemade Nutcracker: Follow this link to see the final photo shoot!
- Marzipan Behind The Scenes Bloopers – Homemade Nutcracker: The scoop on the hilarious challenges of photographing kids.