The secret ingredient for April’s We Should Cocoa challenge, which is being hosted by Choclette at the Chocolate Log Blog, is “Marzipan.” It’s funny because I tend to associate marzipan more with Christmas than Easter – my mum always makes marzipan-stuffed dates and so on, so that’s probably why. Actually, when I think of marzipan, marzipan-stuffed dates immediately spring to mind, but they’re not particularly relevant to the challenge. Plus, it’s not Christmas.
I came across a recipe on the Waitrose site that involved chocolate and marzipan and was entitled easy peasy Easter biscuits. If you follow my blog regularly or know me in person, you’ll know that I’m in the middle of Dissertation Horror, and I’m a little (!) strapped for time (yet I refuse to give up on the blog challenges that I follow – imprudence or dedication?). Anything that has “easy peasy” in the title suggests that it will be straightforward and shouldn’t take too long, and that is exactly what I need right now. The recipe is effectively marzipan eggs stuck on top of some chocolate cookies rather than incorporating the two, and I wasn’t sure if this was kind of cheating, so I made my own marzipan to make up for it. Conveniently, this also meant that I got to use up some of the “crappy Amaretto” that somebody brought it to a party once and that needs to be used up (I find this particular brand too sweet to drink). I had fun dyeing the marzipan into different colours, although I dyed about half the kitchen green when I forgot to screw the lid back on and accidentally knocked the bottle over. I then covered the other half of the kitchen in chocolate, oops. Sometimes I wonder how my flatmate puts up with the mess I create in the kitchen! Anyhow, these turned out rather yummy, if I do say so myself, and the biscuits would be lovely just on their own without the marzipan as well. Or with mini chocolate eggs.
Easter chocolate & marzipan biscuits
These cookies would also be yummy just on their own without marzipan, or with those mini chocolate eggs that you can buy. There will be some leftover marzipan, which can be wrapped in cling film and stored in the fridge for about a week (or just eat it…).
For the cookies:
75g dark chocolate (at least 70%)
100g unsalted butter
110g all-purpose flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
125g light brown muscovado sugar
For the marzipan:
250g ground almonds
175g icing sugar + extra for kneading (potentially)
175g caster sugar
1 egg + 1 egg yolk
Up to 3-4 tbsp Amaretto
Red, green & blue food colouring (optional)
50g milk chocolate
To make the cookies:
1. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C and line several baking trays with baking paper.
2. In a small saucepan and over a low heat, melt the butter and dark chocolate (roughly broken into chunks) together. Pour into a heat-proof mixing bowl and allow to cool.
3. Add the flour and bicarbonate of soda and mix well. Then add the sugar and egg and beat until thoroughly combined.
4. Roll heaped teaspoons of batter into balls (to minimise the cookies spreading into a funny shape) and space them out widely and evenly on the baking sheets (they will spread). Bake for 8-10 mins and allow to rest on the tray for about 1 min before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
To make the marzipan:
5. Whilst the cookies are cooling, prepare the marzipan. Sift the ground almond and sugars together and mix well with a spoon. Beat the egg and yolk together in a small bowl, then add to the almond and sugar mixture and begin to mix with the spoon. Use your hands to knead it so that it is properly mixed. Add Amaretto if too dry, or icing sugar if too wet.
6. If making colour eggs, evenly split the marzipan into three parts. Add one of the food-colours to each part and knead well to mix the colour through thoroughly. Pinch off 24 small balls of each colour and roll into an egg shape.
7. Place an egg of each colour in the middle of each cookie (add a dab of melted chocolate under each to hold them in place a bit). Melt the milk chocolate in a small heat-proof bowl over a saucepan, and drizzle the melted chocolate over the cookies and eggs (use either a teaspoon or piping bag).