Oh Marzipan


Where have you been all my life? I spotted you, pasty, fragrant, and oh-so-affordable, at the market down the street, next to the random assortment of bulk nuts and dusty peanut cans, and I knew I had to have you.

Wet and dry ingredients

I wasn’t even there for baking supplies — I think I was holding a container of lettuce, something for dinner last Saturday. But you were irresistible. One more ingredient won’t hurt, right? And so, the search for something — anything — that would do you justice began.

Biscotti mix

Why biscotti? Well, I had some excellent biscotti for the first time not too long ago, and I was looking for something simple and easy to serve to dinner guests, something that would go with pizza and wine. After rummaging through the cupboards in search of something that would go with cocoa nibs (my new obsession), I spotted you, in your rather misshapen, golden state, perched cheerily next to a package of dried cherries. Funny how my lack of organizational skills pays off sometimes.

Biscotti, pre-slicing

These biscotti are not for the marzipan-shy, but I think that’s my favorite thing about them. Cherries and almonds are somehow born for each other, and the special heady scent of bitter almonds seems to be particularly suitable for this pairing. The cocoa nibs lend a chocolaty richness to the aftertaste, without interrupting the initial flavor too much. All in all, I’m pretty proud of these, so all I can say is I hope you enjoy them!

Cherry chocolate marzipan biscotti

Makes maybe 24 properly-sized biscotti? I made giants, of course. How could I resist?

This recipe is based on the biscotti recipe in Essentials of Baking, from Williams-Sonoma, which my brother got us for Christmas. I only thought to look in here after Rachael made me this amazing version. In fact, I wouldn’t have even thought to make biscotti myself if it weren’t for her; I had always thought of it as a kind of dull accompaniment to coffee, sold in coffee shops only because they were cardboard-like and seemingly indestructible. Not anymore … This recipe is going to become one of my specialties. I particularly like this version, because it’s surprising and intense — perfect with a glass of Chilean cab after dinner.

  • 2 c. (10 oz.) all-purpose flour.
  • 1-1/2 t. baking powder.
  • 1/2 t. salt.
  • 2 large eggs.
  • 3/4 c. sugar. Reduce this if you don’t have a sweet tooth.
  • 1/2 c. (4 oz. / 1 stick) butter, melted.
  • 2 t. vanilla extract.
  • 3 oz. (lemon-sized chunk) marzipan.
  • 3/4 c. dried cherries.
  • 1/2 c. cocoa nibs. If you don’t have cocoa nibs, you can use chocolate chips. But you should definitely reduce the amount of sugar in the recipe if this is the case. Cocoa nibs are unsweetened, amazing, cacao beans, and are definitely worth seeking out.

Pre-heat the oven to 350°F.

Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt together in one bowl. In another bowl, beat the eggs and sugar together until they’re light and fluffy (yes, it’ll take a little while), then add the eggs and vanilla. Beat some more — you’re going to need the workout after you inhale half the cookies in one sitting — and then crumble the marzipan into the wet mix. Stir a bit more, so you don’t have any really large chunks of marzipan left, and then fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Continue folding until the mix becomes uniform, and then add the cherries and cocoa nibs. Stir until the cherries and cocoa nibs have evenly distributed themselves throughout the batter.

Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Form the dough into two flat, oval logs, and place them on the parchment ~3 inches apart. Bake for 20-25 minutes; the logs should be crispy and golden on the outside, with a soft center (kind of like picture #4 above, though I under-baked mine, which made for some precarious slicing).

Remove from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes, and turn the oven down to 300°F. Transfer to a cutting board and slice each log across its width into 3/4″ segments. Lay the segments on the parchment paper, on one side. Place in the oven again, for 17-22 minutes, until the cookies are crisp, brown, and firm to touch. Transfer to a wire rack, and let cool before eating.

These will last for 2 weeks, if you have more willpower than I do.


Filed under cherries, cocoa nibs, dessert, marzipan

14 responses to “Oh Marzipan

  1. Hot damn…this makes having coffee a whole new experience…Marzipan? Very cool.

  2. Looks fabulous. I am a marzipan fan too! In a box of assorted chocolate candies, I take the dark chocolate covered marzipan before any other.

  3. I’ve never had marzipan- these sound super interesting. I love to make biscotti too (and giant-sized at that!)

  4. yum yum! Biscotti are so good dipped in a mug of hot coffee!

  5. liz

    Thanks, everyone! Glad they sound good (especially with a big mug of coffee… yummm). Lori Lynn, these would probably be amazing dipped in dark chocolate, come to think of it…

  6. Your picture of the uncut biscotti looks like a large cookie! Yum!

  7. James

    Gee those were good. You will have to make them again soon 🙂

  8. liz

    😛 yah, we need more cherries, though. maybe we could try your jam trick? mmm, biscotti…

  9. ooh I ‘m so excited that you tried the biscotti. I absolutely love the idea of marzipan, plus, I have just the right size chunk of it leftover from Nica’s sitting my pantry. I can’t wait to try this recipe!

  10. Paula

    Liz makes the best biscotti ever…..yum….

  11. Christa

    I’ve made these a half-dozen times now. This is my go-to biscotti recipe! Just bought a pound of marzipan, and I’m ready to start my Christmas baking.

  12. Kirsty

    Ive just had a go at these they’re in the oven. Never made biscotti before. Your method doesn’t state when to add the melted butter so I guessed & put it in the wet mix just before folding into the dry ingredients. Fingers crossed they’ll turn out okay

  13. Melanie

    I make these all the time. Your recipe is my favourite. The only thing is in the directions above, you have the word eggs instead of butter! Please fix!!

  14. M

    I’m shocked I have memorized this recipe by now. I swear, I’ve made these thirty times. We all love your recipe over here! Could I ask, if it’s not too much trouble, could you make a small correction to your directions? You have us readers putting our eggs in our bowl twice and have skipped the melted butter. 🙂
    Thanks! I always panic when I read to add the eggs and I’ve already added them!
    Kind regards,

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