Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Homemade Marzipan and Napoleonshatte

It’s rare that Hubby asks me to make a particular food, so when he requested Napoleonshatte, I couldn’t very well turn him down, could I? Never mind that I’m a mediocre baker at best and baking anything besides brownies or banana bread can be a risky venture.




Napoleonshatte are cookies (that look like Napoleon’s hat!) filled with marzipan and dipped in chocolate. I don’t think I’ve ever seen them offered here in the States, but every respectable pastry shop in Denmark carries them. So simple a creation, but looks can be a bit deceiving. I wouldn’t say they are hard to make, but for a beginner the shape can be difficult to achieve. At least it was for me. Halfway through, I switched to making Napoleon’s logs :P Surprisingly the marzipan filling was not as difficult as I expected. It just required a little patience.

If I actually knew anything about baking and pastries, I could be more specific about the cookie dough. The only thing I can say is the perfect specimen is made with a dough that is slightly crumbly, but also chewy, maybe some kind of cross between a sugar cookie and a pate brisee (likely made with some almond flour), if that makes any sense at all. There are a few recipes out there, but the one I chose seemed easy and straightforward. However I’m not going to link to it because 1) it’s in Danish and 2) the recipe didn’t give me the texture I’m looking for. Don’t get me wrong, they were fine, resembling sugar cookies, but I wanted more of the chewiness. I've got a couple recipes I want to try, but if you have a killer recipe, do let me know. When I do find that perfect recipe, I will definitely post the link.


I have 2 logs of marzipan left, totaling a little over 1/2 lb. Any ideas what I should do with them?

I do, however, have a link for the marzipan. It’s from Sara Moulton, one of my all time favorite chefs. She’s just got a down-to-earthness about her that is often missing in the new generation of chefs. The recipe is fantastic. Hubby, the marzipan expert in this house, raved about the result. The only thing I did differently was use 1 tsp almond extract instead of 4 tsp vanilla because I didn’t want any competing flavors. The grinding was a bit taxing on the nerves because the almonds have to be ground to a fine powder. That’s hard to do with most home spice grinders. I had to walk away a couple of times so my grinder could cool down. Count on it taking at least 1 hour (not 15 minutes as stated in the recipe) with the blanching, chopping, grinding, sifting and mixing. Other than that, it’s a perfect recipe. Not too sweet, which is often the case with store-bought, mediocre marzipan.

Lastly, the chocolate ganache. I just melted 8 oz (by weight) dark, semi-sweet Belgian chocolate in ½ cup heavy cream. I did this in the microwave on 50% power, stirring every 2 minutes until the chocolate was melted and uniform. Some people add a pat of butter (but I never do). The ganache takes a few hours to set up. Don’t be tempted to put the cookies in the freezer to speed up this process. You’ll just end up with condensation or something that affects the texture of the coating. The fridge might be okay after a couple of hours. Traditionally the cookies are only coated on one side, but I completely coated a few of the logs, thinking I was doing my chocoholic husband a favor. I stopped when Sonny commented that they looked like turds. Don’t you just love the unbridled honesty?

This is my entry to Weekend Wokking, a blogging event created by Wandering Chopsticks that highlights a different theme ingredient every month. This time it's almonds. If you want to get in on the action, send your submissions to me, blazinghotwok(at)gmail(dot)com, by Sunday, March 1st. Guidelines about the event can be found by clicking the link, and be sure to check back for the round-up on the March 4th.

25 comments:

Wandering Chopsticks said...

Oh yum! I'll take a chocolate-covered turd. :P And I know what you can do with the marzipan filling. Freeze it and send it to me! :)

OK, my own event and I gotta get off my lazy butt and post my recipe too.

Darlene said...

WC, Sonny made fun, but he happily ate the turds too!

bb said...

I think you guys just like to sat "turds" in your comments! Way to go, sonny!
And nice job taking on the new and different for the husband....that IS love.

bb said...

ooops....that should have been "say" turds...hmmm....

QGIRL said...

OMG, you bake too! Amazing.
Gorgeous and yummy looking "turds" if you ask me.
:P

Darlene said...

bb, I figured that's what you meant. I do stuff like that all the time. Oh, and TURDS!

qgirl, I don't normally do a lot of baking. It's mostly luck that things actually turn out. That is no joke.

Just Cook It said...

They just LOVE their little biscuity things over in Scandinavia, don't they?

Darlene said...

James, they do! I felt like the entire culture has a sweet tooth and things with marzipan are at the top of the list. My husband said he eat Napoleonshatte everyday after school for years.

LC said...

Those are beauties! Wish I had the baking gene...

QGIRL said...

p.s. aren't those Silpat baking mats the best! I love mine.

pigpigscorner said...

Not a big fan of marzipan but they look so good esp with the chocolate!

Darlene said...

LC, I don't have the baking gene either, but luckily genetics isn't all determining, otherwise I'd be in trouble here.

qgirl, yes, they are genius!

pigpigscorner, I didn't like marzipan either when I first tried it. I thought it was too sweet, but it grew on me. When you make it yourself, you can control the sugar level. helps a lot!

Lars said...

Nice... napoleonshatte and makrelguf. Are you guys feeling home sick towards Denmark? You've nailed the shape of the napoleonshatte, and they look great.

As for the left over marzipan, you should use it to make home made high end treats like we do in DK for Christmas, that will make hubby pretty happy i'm sure! soak raisins, dried apricots or stuff like that in cognac for a few hours or even overnight.Work a little cold espresso into the marzipan. Drain the raisins or whatever you choose, and work them into the marzipan too. Make small balls out of the marzipan and dip in dark chokolate (70% and up). Cool in the fridge, and you'll be getting flowers from hubby every day next week :-)

Else there is nothing like appel pie with marzipan... yum!

And btw, when you are making home made marzipan you don't have to grind the almonds into powder, you can easily make the marzipan more coarse. It'll still come together nicely, and I actually prefer the texture of a more coarse marzipan. And then you make sure that everybody knows it's home made ;-)

dp said...

lars, my picture only shows the three best cookies. There's a reason you don't see the other 25 I attempted :-)

I couldn't achieve the fine powder with the almonds, so it was a little coarser than the stuff that's commercially available. Hubby and I actually preferred the coarser texture.

I did shape and dip some of the marzipan in the chocolate ganache I made and they were really really good. Hubby said they reminded him of Anton Berg chocolates. we'll do it with the dried fruits in rum next time. Maybe dried cranberries or cherries. They go so well with almond flavor. I'm going to freeze what I have so that Bedstefar can get in on the confekt-making action :-)

Paula said...

Oh lordy, your hubby made an awesome request! These are gorgeous! Both shapes would be devoured in mere seconds in my household. You made your own marzipan?!! Impressive! These would definitely go on the "repeat" list in my house. YUM!

Mike of Mike's Table said...

lol@the turd comment. I'll eat the turd--these look great!

Darlene said...

Paula, the marzipan was actually easier than I thought and it makes enough for multiple uses. I heard it freezes beautifully as well. Totally worth the effort.

Mike, terrible imagery but the turds tasted great! Wait till your little one is talking. Kids say the cutest, funniest things. I used to write it all down but it's hard to keep up.

Manggy said...

Wow, do let me know when you get that perfect dough recipe! These look soo cute and we need to get this right in English! By the way, I would've thought you'd start with almonds that were already blanched and sliced, but kudos to you for making it work! :)

Darlene said...

manggy, I've bought sliced almonds before and they tasted stale. Better to get whole almonds and start from the beginning. Once they are blanched, they pop right out of the skin. Sonny could help with this, but it still was a rate-limiting step.

I'm going to try making something with more almonds and the leftover marzipan this weekend. Hopefully it will work out.

Remil said...

These are great. I tasted many of them in Denmark last August. For something closer to home, there's a little Dutch community in Solvang, CA just north of Santa Barbara. There's a couple of bakers who make excellent ones.

Remil said...

These are great. I tasted many of them in Denmark last August. For something closer to home, there's a little Dutch community in Solvang, CA just north of Santa Barbara. There's a couple of bakers who make excellent ones.

Darlene said...

Remil, unfortunately I'm not very close to Solvang :-( But you're lucky if you are! It's probably better we don't have a bakery close by that sells these; we wouldn't need much of an excuse to go pick them up. I can see the pounds packing on...

Manggy said...

Yeah, I figured... It helps to have a dedicated nut shop :) And rate limiting step! You are such a biochemist!

Anonymous said...

Came across this while I was looking online for a marzipan recipe - they look great, but I don't remember seeing them in Denmark - will have to look more closely next time I'm home!
As for making your own marzipan, I find the easiest thing to do is to buy almond meal, which removes the need for the tedious grinding. I use that and icing sugar (? confectioner's sugar in the US?) and egg white, and usually the proportion is 2 cups almond meal to one cup icing sugar and 2 egg whites. Mmmm! Will be making plenty of confekt this Christmas to give away as gifts as well

Darlene said...

anonymous, my father-in-law makes confekt every christmas as well. They don't send us the stuff they make but they send us bags of it that they buy. Plus the pebernoedder, which I don't really like but the boys eat like they are going out of style.

Happy holidays!