Marzipan and Other Types of Sugar Confectionary
It might feel odd to think about sweet treats again so soon after the Winter holiday season. But, alas, we’re back with more history and fun facts about what we put in our body. Today, in honour of its national holiday, we’re pushing the spotlight on marzipan! Love it or hate it, it is a staple of the confectionary world. Join us in exploring its past as well as the other delicacies it stands alongside.
What is Marzipan?
Marzipan is a confection primarily consisting of sugar, honey, and almond meal (ground almonds). These ingredients created a dough-like mixture. Often, it shapes into sweets: common uses are chocolate-covered pieces or small imitation of fruits and vegetables. What’s more, some countries shape into small animals figures as a traditional treat for New Year’s Day or Christmas.
Additionally, makers use it to ice cakes, more traditionally:
- Tortell, also known as three kings cake, associated with epiphany or the period before lent.
- Princess Cake, a traditionally Swedish dessert, of sponge, pastry cream, raspberry jam and whipped cream layer.
Marzipan has two proposed lines of origin. But, these factors aren’t necessarily contradictory.
First, historians link it to Northeast Mediterranean cooking. Specifically being introduce to Eastern Europe by the Turks via either Hungary or Italy. There are two cities in particular who have a proud manufacturing history: Lübeck in Northern Germany, and Tallinn in Estonia. Additionally, Köingsberg in East Prussia renowns itself from a special type that is golden brown and embedded with a marmalade centre.
The second possible origin is the Iberian Peninsula. In fact, The Book of One Thousand and One Nights mentions the eating of an almond paste during Ramadan. Mazapán is still Toldeo’s most famous dessert to this day. For it, almonds have to be at least 50% of the total weight.
This is where marzipan differs in other countries. For example, in the US some brands consist of only 28% marzipan. However, in Sweden and Finland, almond paste is only the confectionary if it contains 50% ground almonds. And the famous towns in Germany? Well, they desire 66% almonds.
Marzipan not really tickling your taste buds? Check out these other sweet confectionary treats.
- Chocolates. Specifically, bite-sized versions. In general, they use a different chocolate than that of a bar.
- Divinity. A nougat-like confectionary based on egg whites with chopped nuts.
- Dodol. Popular in Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Phillipines, this sweet has a toffee-like taste and consistency.
- Fudge. To make, boil milk and sugar until it forms a soft-ball.
- Havlah. Based on tahini, this paste consists of ground sesame seeds.
- Hard Candy. This includes: lollipops, jawbreakers, lemon drops, candy canes, rock candy, brittle, etc.
- Ice cream. If its frozen and flavoured: it’s a confectionary!
- Jelly candies. Any sweet based on sugar and starch, pectin, gum, or gelatin. Think, Turkish delight, jelly beans, gummies, etc.
- Liquorice. Containing extract of the liquorice root, expect a chew resilient candy with a taste similar to star anise.
- Marshmallow. Coming in a variety of shapes and sizes.
- Mithai. A generic term for Indian confectionary. It is typically made from dairy products and/or some for of flour. Additionally, sugar or molasses adds sweetness.
- Persipan. Similar to marzipan, but made with peaches or apricots instead of almonds.
- Pastillage. A thick sugar paste consisting of gelatin, water, and confectioner’s sugar. Makers mould it into shapes which harden.
- Tablet. A crumbly milk-based soft and hard candy. Comes in several forms.
- Taffy. Folded sugar confection made at a high heat, thus reducing its density and making it opaque.
- Toffee. Made by caramelising sugar or molasses along with butter.