I love marzipan! And most of all I like the pink marzipan piggies I get on New Years Eve. It is tradition in Austria and Germany to give lucky charms like pigs, horseshoes, sweeps, toadstools or shamrocks to your beloved ones on New Years Eve. I wonder if that’s only typical for German-speaking countries? (Researches so far have shown: yes)
This year I’ve made some oft he cute little charms on my own and gave it to friends and family.
The pink food coloring for the piggies is homemade and contains nothing else than beetroots (Here is how to do it, if you have time for it). I was so excited of this beautiful purple food coloring that I added ways too much of it into the marzipan dough, which (quite “authentically”) ended up to look like salami or ground meat… Mmmhm well … for the coloring of green shamrocks, on which the piggies sat on, I grated Styrian pumpkin seeds and added to the dough, but pistachios would also be a good choice I guess.
Ingredients for tons of PINK DIY marzipan dough
- 100g almonds, grated
- 50g powdered sugar
- 15g honey (about 1 tablespoon)
- 5 drops of bitter almond oil (Alternative: Bitter almond flavor or some liqueur and neutral oil)
- 10 g of rosewater (Alternative: brandy, liqueur)
- 1/4 tsp pink food coloring powder (not more!)
The dough is sufficient for an almost infinite number of lucky pigs. After forming 20 piggies I became tired of doing so and used the remaining dough elsewhere (It is storeable for a few weeks at least).
The basic recipe comes from a wonderful blog called “Glücksbäckerei”, where rosewater is an important ingredient, as it is in most marzipan recipes. Unfortunately I could not get the rosewater on short term, so I added a little water and a cherry brandy instead. If homemade food coloring from beetroot takes too long for you or is too much work, you can, of course, replace it by bought food coloring.
If I have no powdered sugar at home, I take ordinary granulated sugar and crush it in a blender, until it’s a very fine powder.
Preparation for basic marzipan dough
First I mixed the grounded almonds with the sugar and the honey, then added a few drops of bitter almond oil and some cherry-brandy.
Then I got „overzealous“, because I was so impressed by the beautiful purple colour of the beetroots powder, so I put 3 teaspoons of food coloring into the dough – Do not try that at home! It takes some time until the color powder dissolves in the dough and you can see the final color. My pigs have then, as you can see in the pictures, looked pretty much like ground meat. Oooooh.
That’s why you should only add 1/4 tsp of coloring powder.
The dough was kneaded for a time with hands (I love kneading dough, it’s a kind of stress release). If, after some time, the color is too bright, you can very carefully add some more color.
Since my ground almonds were quite dry, I added 1-2 tablespoons of water. Contrary to the warning on some sites, that the food coloring stubbornly sticks to your hands, I had no problems with that. But if you want to be safe, knead the dough with gloves on.
Then I got the dough wrapped in a clingfilm and put it in the fridge.
DIY green marzipan dough
Fort he green color I added grated Styrian pumpkin seeds, and instead took less almonds. It does not only give a greenish color, but also an interesting taste to the marzipan. Alternatively, you could try it with pistachios.
INGREDIENTS for green marzipan dough
- 60g almonds, grated
- 40g Styrian pumpkin seeds, grated
- 50g sugar
- 15g honey (about 1 tablespoon)
- 3-4 tbsp pumpkin seed oil
The same way as with the pink marzipan, I mixed all of the ingredients and kneaded them until it became a soft dough; then put it in the fridge.
The marzipan should rest in the refrigerator for a few hours. After that you can add some more powdered sugar for forming the figures.
As a gift for new year, I have set about 20 shockingly pink lucky pigs on green shamrocks and horseshoes. For the packaging, I placed the whole thing on a wafer and packed them in small sachets.
- First I formed the single items:
- 20 balls of 2 cm diameter for the bellies
- 20 balls of about 1 cm diameter for the heads
- 20 incredibly small pig’s snouts
- And – No Na Ned – 40 smaller than small ears (No Na Ned – Viennese „slang“ for: „Of course you have to make 40 ears if you wanna have 20 piggies!! Do you think I’m stupid?“
The items were stuck together with melted chocolate (to make sure that everything keeps together). For applying the chocolate I used a toothpick. With this I’ve also painted eyes and nostrils.
The leftover raw mass and chocolate were used for homemade mini-wannabe-Mozart balls. For that I – once more! – shaped balls from the rest of the marzipan and dipped them in melted chocolate …
Then the piggies had to dry overnight. In case you don’t want them to taste like salami, don’t put them in the fridge; another cool place in your home will do.