Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Chocolate-Covered Marzipan Christmas Stars (with home-made marzipan)

Last post before Christmas..... But I just had to share these!

When I made my Christmas cakes recently, I made extra extra marzipan because it was totally delicious, and so that I could make these yummy chocolates to nibble on over the holidays. It's not too late to make some to give away as beautiful presents. I think they look so lovely piled into a pretty cup!

I will also declare at the outset that this is my first ever attempt at tempering chocolate. It certainly won't be my last, but I feel very much a novice and have discovered that although relatively straight forward a process, the given wisdom on the finer details of how to execute the perfect temper seems to vary from one author to another.

I have perused articles and posts that say melt the chocolate and heat to a given temperature (anywhere between 45 and 49 Centigrade) and then cool to somewhere between 30 and 32 Centigrade before using straight away. Others have told me to heat the chocolate and then cool to about 27 Centigrade before gently warming back up to about 31/32 Centigrade.  Some say just stir the melted chocolate to cool it. And others instruct to 'seed' it with tempered (unmelted) chocolate (which also helps to cool it)........ Having done further research, I have now linked three articles below (in the recipe) which I found most helpful and will be following in the future.

I have no idea which method is best, but I have jumped in and given tempering a go (more or less successfully) and now feel much more confident that it will be something I will try again......

I say 'more or less', because the method I followed actually told me to cool the chocolate to about 28 degrees and then use straight away.... It was very gloopy and I think maybe had cooled a tad too far, which made it really tricky to coat the marzipan evenly.

I also confess that when I was about two-thirds of the way through, Mr GF was twitching around the kitchen because he needed wanted to get the dinner sorted. Whilst I should be eternally grateful that I have a husband who competently feeds me, the act of agitating behind my back when I was already flustered by sticky, gloopy chocolate, lead me to make the silly decision to quickly reheat the last of the dark chocolate in the microwave to make it easier to use. Now untempered, the last few chocolates 'bloomed' and ended up a little speckled in appearance.

Whichever method you use, you will need a good, reliable cooking thermometer if you are going to temper to perfection. My new Thermapen 4 which I recently reviewed is fantastic and (if I am honest) having it probably gave me the confidence to give tempering a go. I am so impressed with this technological gadget-angel that I can't recommend it enough. If you need a food thermometer, buy this one. It's fab!

And the chocolates? Well..... apart from a little non-floral 'blooming' (which was hardly noticeable once I had tarted them up with drizzled white chocolate and seasonal sparkly edible glitter), they are divine..... The marzipan is soft and sweet and packed with the flavour and aroma of almond, all of which marries beautifully against the slight bitterness of the dark chocolate...... Sublime!

Merry Christmas! Be back soon...... xx

I am sharing my lovely chocolates with the following Christmas linkies :

We Should Cocoa this month with Munchies & Munchkins on behalf of Choclette at Tin & Thyme.

Simply Eggcellent with Dom over at Belleau Kitchen who has, for December said 'anything goes' as long as there is egg in it.

The Food Year Link-Up with Charlotte's Lively Kitchen.

Alphabakes with Caroline Makes (and The More Than Occasional Baker), who have picked the letter N for December. Marzipan is full of ground nuts.... almonds to be precise, so it seems a fitting entry.

Recipe of the Week with the lovely Emily at A Mummy Too.

Free From Fridays with the Emma at the Free From Farmhouse.

& Cook Blog Share, this month with Snap Happy Bakes.

Chocolate-Covered Marzipan Christmas Stars

225g ground almonds
225g icing sugar
1 large egg
¾ teaspoon almond extract

220g dark chocolate
50 to 100g white chocolate for decoration (optional)
edible glitter (optional)

  1. Weigh the almonds into a large bowl and sift in the icing sugar, stirring to fully combine.
  2. Add the almond extract and egg and stir with a flat knife to bring together until the mixture forms a dough. 
  3. Knead the dough until smooth. Form into a ball, wrap in cling film and chill until ready to use.
  4. To shape the marzipan, knead slightly to help pliability if it has been in the fridge, and roll out about 1½-2 cm/½-¾ inch thickness. Use a small star cutter (or shape of choice) to cut marzipan shapes and set aside on baking paper. Repeat the process, rolling and cutting until all the marzipan has been used.
  5. Chop your dark chocolate into small pieces ready to melt and temper. Make sure the bowl that you use is heat proof glass and small enough that the chocolate will melt with some depth in the bottom. I am no expert on tempering and as this was my first experience of the process, I sought out lots of articles to help me. They all seem to vary slightly in process although the principles are the same. Here are 3 links which I found particularly helpful.... Choose the one you feel most comfortable with and follow it closely :                                                                                           David Lebovitz        EcoleChocolat          BBC Good Food
  6. Once your chocolate is tempered, dip each marzipan shape in to cover completely (I used a cocktail stick in the marzipan to enable me to dip effectively), and place on baking paper and allow to cool completely.
  7. Once cold, repeat the tempering process with the white chocolate and drizzle over the dark chocolates. 
  8. Sprinkle with edible glitter and leave to cool and harden.
        Gluten Free Alchemist © 2013-15 unless otherwise indicated


  1. oh YES!! I adore marzipan... anything with almonds basically is my favourite and then go and add chocolate..well... these are so pretty and so festive. Thanks for linking to Simply Eggcellent and wishing you and yours a very merry Christmas xx

    1. Oh YES indeed Dom! I don't think they will last much beyond tomorrow..... even my daughter has got the snaffle-bug!
      You too have a fantastic Christmas and enjoy wonderful food xx

  2. That's funny...we have our homemade marzipan stars drying on the side ready to dip. The kids are doing it so no tempering of the chocolate here!!! Gifts for family! Have a wonderful Christmas!!!

    1. Ha! Great minds again Vicki!
      Have a fantastic Christmas x

  3. These look amazing and yet really not very difficult to make. Bet they taste amazing too!! Eb x

    1. Thanks Eb. They were REALLY easy to make and yes.... they taste amazing. SO much better than shop-bought ones!
      Happy Christmas x

  4. These sound delicious - I love marzipan and chocolate makes everything better! I am a little scared of tempering - great to have a few control subjects to prove that tempering did make a difference

    1. They are darn good Johanna!
      I was petrified of tempering, but I honestly think having a trustworthy thermometer gave me the confidence to risk it.
      And yes.... I hadn't thought of them as 'control subjects', but you are absolutely right! You can really see the difference between the tempered and untempered ones!
      Have a great Christmas x

  5. Wow! You even made your own marzipan! I have never tried making my own or probably I did try ages ago but it was a failure. Looking at your recipe it looks really easy so I might give it another go the next time I make a celebratory cake. What a fantastic treat your chocolates, they will be wonderful on your Christmas table.
    I wish you a lovely Christmas and a great new year. May every wish come true! xx

    1. Thank you Alida.
      The marzipan is really easy..... and it makes a great covering for cake too!
      I'm hoping there are enough chocolates left for Christmas..... they are disappearing fast!
      You too have a great Christmas x

  6. Ooh I've got some leftover marzipan and I always have chocolate in the cupboard so I'll have to give these a go (although I may cheat and just make balls rather than stars!). My husband is a huge marzipan fan so I think he would love these.

    Happy Christmas xx

    1. Thanks Charlotte. I hope you had a fantastic Christmas and that you got to make them...... They were so good!

  7. They look fantastic and would make an excellent gift! I am usually too lazy to do proper tempering with chocolate, so I am very impressed by your efforts! Happy christmas!

    1. Thanks Kat. I did manage to pop a few in pretty fabric gift bags which went down rather well!
      I hope you had a great Christmas x

  8. I always assumed making marzipan was really complicated - and I too don't bother tempering chocolate properly but you've made me think perhaps I should! Thanks for sharing these with Alphabakes.

    1. You're welcome Caroline. I think there are probably various ways of making marzipan and this way is probably the easiest on the planet..... but it tastes amazing, so that's good by me!

  9. These look great. Thanks for linking up to we should cocoa.

  10. Ooo these are right up my OH street! I may have to make him some! Thanks for linking to #CookBlogShare. Hijacked By Twins will be hosting the next link up on Tuesday 5th Jan. Hope to see you there

    1. Thanks Haley. Looking forward to another a year of Cook, Blog, Sharing! Happy New Year x


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