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The Batter Thickens: Brownie Doctor: Marzipan Brownies

Monday, July 15, 2013

Brownie Doctor: Marzipan Brownies

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Do you like marzipan? I take it for granted that everybody loves marzipan because to me it's inconceivable that you wouldn't love marzipan. But apparently marzipan is less of a universal taste than I thought. My own mother is aggressively lukewarm on the stuff. I must have gotten my taste for it through my dad - his 100% German blood makes me well over 50% German myself, and the Germans are nothing if not gaga for marzipan (and beer, and meat, and bread; a balanced diet it is not).

But if you're in touch with your inner German and you do like marzipan, this is definitely the recipe for you. Marzipan is often a subtle presence in desserts, but there is nothing shy about marzipan in these brownies. This is in your face marzipan. 

These brownies were inspired by/for a good friend of mine who visited me in London a couple weeks before I came home. She is obsessed. with. marzipan. In her two week visit, I think she may have consumed upwards of four to five entire blocks of solid marzipan. By herself. I am not kidding; I am not exaggerating.

Yeah. I told you. Obsessed.

Anyway, such was her obsession that it couldn't help but rub off a little on me. I came home with marzipan on the brain, and it struck me: "Marzipan frosting. Is that a thing? It should be. I should make it a thing."

So I did. 

It was surprisingly easy and came together on my first attempt. I figured, peanut butter frosting is made by creaming peanut butter with butter and sugar, so shouldn't you be able to make marzipan frosting by creaming butter and sugar with marzipan (or almond paste)?

Turns out: you can!

I was quite pleased with how this frosting turned out. Like I said, the marzipan flavor is very upfront and in your face, not some wallflower background accent flavor. That is exactly what I wanted. What's the point of making marzipan frosting if it doesn't taste very obviously like marzipan, I ask you? There is none, there is no point at all. You might as well just not.

Making the frosting with actual marzipan as opposed to relying on almond extract for the almond flavor means you get not only that distinctive marzipan taste (subtly but specifically different from just 'almond'), but you also get some of the distinctive marzipan texture, which I think sets this already unique buttercream even more apart from the buttercream in-crowd.

Never one to leave well enough alone when it comes to baked goods, I chopped up a marzipan Ritter Sport bar (courtesy of the Germans!) and mixed that in to the Ghiradelli dark chocolate brownie batter to add an extra punch of marzipan to each bite. You can see one peeking out in the close-up above.

Serious marzipan connoisseurs will be transported to cloud nine biting into these brownies. And for the more casual marzipan appreciator, they still make for a rich, elegant, and unique treat. Go forth and commune with your inner Germans. I know you all have them, if only because second to their weaknesses for all things meat, beer, and bread, the Germans possess a pretty serious sweet tooth. And you're going to need one to eat these brownies.

-  Molly

Marzipan Brownies
original recipe

For the Brownies:
1 box brownie mix (I recommend Ghiradelli dark chocolate mix)
1 Ritter Sport marzipan bar

Mix and bake according to box instructions.

For the Frosting:
1 stick butter
6 tbsp. almond paste/marzipan
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp. almond extract
1/2 tsp. vanilla

Cream butter and almond paste until mixture is smooth and there are no more clumps of marzipan. Mix in vanilla, almond extract, and powdered sugar.

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