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There is often confusion between Almond Paste and Marzipan because people are unsure what the difference is between them. To make things worse, recipes often list Almond Paste when they mean Marzipan and Marzipan when they mean Almond Paste. However, Almond Paste and Marzipan are used for completely different things.
Almond Paste has a coarse texture and is soft, spreadable, and is used as a baking ingredient. Marzipan is sweeter, has a finer texture, and is a much stiffer dough than Almond Paste. It can be rolled out or molded into shapes and used to decorate a cake.
What is Almond Paste?
Almond Paste is made from ground almonds, sugar, and egg whites the same as Marzipan.
The difference is that the almonds are not ground so finely, and not so much sugar is used.
Almond Paste is used as an ingredient in baking, whereas Marzipan is used to decorate baked goods.
Almond Paste made with raw, peeled almonds have a subtle flavor. If it’s made with toasted almonds, it has a stronger flavor and is darker in color. Almond Paste made with unpeeled ground almonds is darker in color and also has a stronger flavor.
Almond extract is usually used to enhance the flavor of the almonds when making the almond paste.
Frangipane is often confused with Almond Paste, but it isn’t the same.
Frangipane is made with ground almonds and sugar, the same as Almond Paste, but it also includes whole eggs, butter, flour, and sometimes milk.
Because the Almond Paste is a baking ingredient which means it will be cooked in your baked goods using raw eggs is not a problem.
How to make Almond Paste with almond flour
Almond Paste is quick and easy to make, and you only need five ingredients.
Ideally, you will need a food processor to make Almond Paste, but it is possible to make it by hand if you mix it well.
Almond flour/Ground Almonds/almond meal is all the same thing. The name seems to vary in different countries.
Almond Paste (made from Almond Flour)
This makes approx 200g/7oz Almond
- 130g Almond Flour (not too finely ground)
- 50g Confectioners/powdered sugar
- ¼ tsp Salt
- 1 Egg White
- ¼ tsp Almond Extract
- Add the confectioners/powdered sugar, almond flour, and salt to the food processor and pulse until they are all evenly mixed.
- Add the almond extract and the egg white to the mixture and pulse until all the ingredients form a smooth paste.
After making the Almond Paste taste it and decide for yourself if it requires more almond extract. If it does, add it one drop at a time, as too much will be worse than too little.
How are you going to make Almond Paste if you’ve only got whole almonds?
How to make Almond Paste from whole almonds
You can make Almond Paste from peeled or unpeeled raw almonds, or you can peel the almonds and toast them first to give the paste a stronger, nuttier flavor.
You will need a food processor to be able to make Almond Paste from whole almonds.
Almond Paste (made from whole almonds)
- 200g Whole almonds
- 50g Confectioners sugar
- 1 Egg white
- ¼ tsp Almond extract
- ¼ tsp Salt
- Place the almonds in the food processor and process until ground quite finely but not too fine.
- Add the rest of the ingredients and pulse until they form a smooth paste.
After making the almond paste taste it and decide for yourself if it requires more almond extract. If it does, add it one small drop at a time, as adding too much extract will be worse than too little.
Now make sure you store it properly
How to store Almond Paste
If you will use the Almond Paste fairly quickly, press some plastic film onto the surface to eliminate all the air and use it within 24 hours.
If you need to keep it for a short time, remove it from the bowl, double wrap it in plastic wrap, and store it in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
When you are ready to use it, remove it from the fridge and let the Almond Paste reach room temperature before use.
If you need to keep it for longer than 2 weeks, place the double wrapped Almond Paste in a freezer-proof airtight box and store it in the freezer for up to 6 months.
To use after it’s been frozen…
Remove from the freezer and let the Almond Paste reach room temperature before use.
Now you’ve made it, what are you going to use it for?
What is Almond Paste used for?
Almond Paste is a baking ingredient and is often used in European-style cakes, tarts, cookies, and various desserts.
For example, used…
as a filling for yeast buns
mixed into an Almond Paste Cake
as a filling for Danish pastries
as a filling for tarts
crumbled as a topping for fruit crumble
mixed into cookies
in the center of Stollen – German yeast fruit loaf
These are just a few of the baked goods that use Almond Paste.
Do you know how Almond Paste is used in cakes?
How to use Almond Paste in cakes
If Almond Paste is used as a cake ingredient, it’s sometimes crumbled into pieces and gently mixed into the cake batter.
After the cake is baked, the pieces of almond paste remain intact, giving the cake texture and a great flavor.
Alternatively, it’s stirred into cake batter or cookie dough until it’s incorporated smoothly to give them texture and flavor.
If it’s used in a yeast cake such as the German Stollen, then it’s rolled into long strips and laid onto the center of the dough, then baked.
When the cake is cut, the Almond Paste will have stayed in the rolled strip without melting, and each slice will contain some of the Almond Paste.
If you use it as a topping for a fruit crumble, then the Almond Paste is crumbled into pieces and scattered on top of the fruit, then baked, and it will stay in place without melting.
As a filling for a tart, the Almond Paste may be mixed with other ingredients.
If you do a Google search on the internet, you can find endless recipes that use Almond Paste as an ingredient for cakes, tarts, and desserts.
Do you know what Marzipan is?
What is Marzipan
Marzipan is a mixture of finely ground almond flour mixed with sugar and egg whites to make a dough-like paste that can be rolled out and used for a cake covering and decorations.
It’s also used as a filling for chocolate bars, as the centers for boxed chocolates, or made into shapes such as marzipan fruits, etc.
Marzipan is used to cover rich English-style fruit cakes made at Christmas and sometimes for weddings. The cakes can just be covered with marzipan or used as an undercoat for Royal icing or rolled fondant.
Lighter cakes such as Genoise or Madeira or light fruit cakes are sometimes covered with buttercream then Marzipan and sometimes with a layer of fondant on top of the Marzipan.
Sponge cakes are too light to bear the weight of Marzipan.
Would you like to know how Marzipan is made?
How to make marzipan
Marzipan is very expensive to buy, but it’s considerably cheaper and easy to make yourself.
Apart from the economic perspective, I always think that marzipan I make myself tastes much better than shop-bought, and I know what I put into it.
There are two ways to make marzipan: a cooked version and an uncooked version.
The cooked version is easier to work with and is recommended for safety reasons if young or older people are likely to eat it because of being made with egg.
The uncooked version is much quicker to make but tends to be a little more crumbly and more difficult to roll out.
Use pasteurized egg whites or reconstituted dried egg white powder if you make the uncooked version of marzipan as a precaution against Salmonella to be on the safe side.
You can find recipes for cooked and uncooked marzipan in my article How to Make Your Own Marzipan.
Is marzipan better than almond paste?
Marzipan vs almond paste
There is no competition between Marzipan and Almond Paste.
As I have already said, they are made with the same ingredients, ground almonds and sugar, but they are different and used for different things.
However, Marzipan is made with finely ground almonds and more sugar than Almond Paste, so the finished product is much smoother and much sweeter.
It’s used in cake decorating to cover cakes and can be colored and used to make flowers and models.
Almond Paste is made with almonds that are not so finely ground and contain much less sugar.
It’s used as an ingredient when making baked goods such as cakes or pastries.
You’ve been baking, and you have Almond Paste leftover. How about making it into marzipan?
How to make Marzipan from Almond Paste
Ideally, making Marzipan from scratch is best. See the link above.
However, if you have been cooking with Almond Paste and you have some leftover, it’s easy to make it into Marzipan to decorate the cakes you have baked rather than let them go to waste.
Marzipan you make yourself is always going to taste much better than shop-bought, and as a bonus, it’s much cheaper to make your own.
Marzipan made from Almond Paste
Use a stand mixer with the beater attachment.
- 200g Almond Paste
- 55g light corn syrup (or Golden Syrup in the UK)
50g Confectioners/powdered sugar – plus more for kneading
- Place the Almond Paste and syrup into the mixer bowl and mix slowly until it’s a smooth paste.
- With the mixer still running at a slow speed, add 50g confectioner sugar.
- Remove the dough from the mixer bowl onto a smooth surface sprinkled with confectioners sugar.
- Knead in enough sugar to form a fairly stiff, smooth dough.
If you are making this by hand, then stir the Almond Paste and syrup together with a spoon and then follow the method from No.3.
I hope this has answered any questions you have about Almond Paste. If you have any questions I have not covered, ask them in the comments box below, and I will do my best to answer them.