There are constantly great new low-carb products coming to the market. Well, many of them are unhealthy and full of artificial, weird ingredients. The main purpose of these products is not to make you healthy — the main purpose is to take your money. However, sometimes you find great, quite natural products which give some variety to the healthy low-carb lifestyle.
After finding a powdered sweetener consisting of erythritol and stevia there is no way back. It is sweet without the bitter aftertaste of stevia and it has only very little of the cooling effect of erythritol. I tried the sweetener in cooking and baking, and found that it makes really nice marzipan. This great recipe I want to share with you, my dear readers, and wish you happy holidays!
Tips for making the sugar-free marzipan
This marzipan is easy to make and it’s ready in no time. I recommend sifting at least the powdered sweetener, so that there are absolutely no lumps in the final marzipan. For the best result, you can sift the almond flour as well.
If you are concerned about using raw egg whites, you can use pasteurized egg whites, or egg white substitute made from pasteurized egg white powder and water.
You can add almond extract for enhancing the flavor. However, if you can get bitter almond flavor (NOT bitter almonds or bitter almond oil), that would give even more authentic marzipan flavor. I’ve bought my bitter almond flavor from Germany, but I wouldn’t wonder if you can buy bitter almond flavor online.
Store the leftover marzipan tightly wrapped in plastic film and refrigerated. The marzipan dries quickly and becomes hard if not covered.
Use the sugar-free low-carb marzipan for making decorations or marzipan confections, just like you would use the sugar-laden marzipan.
My experiments with the sugar-free marzipan
I love to create all kinds of sugar-free and gluten-free delicacies for the holidays. I haven’t seen any commercial versions of low-carb marzipan, so for a very long time I had planned to develop a proper alternative to sugar-laden marzipan. Especially chocolate covered marzipan confections are my favorite holiday treats, so now it was a good time to go into developing a proper low-carb marzipan.
I’ve got some books with marzipan recipes. Two of the books are low-carb cookbooks, third book is a massive Finnish edition full of sugary and gluten-filled recipes, which I love to convert into sugar-free, gluten-free low-carb alternatives.
One low-carb cookbook — my favorite — is The Low-Carb Baking and Dessert Cookbook by Ursula Solom. The recipes for marzipan confections in that book use pure almond paste, which is high-carb and filled with sugar.
The other low-carb cookbook is a Swedish book, Bakglädje med LCHF by Annika Rogneby (yes, I love to own cookbooks in different languages, well, no wonder, I’m a linguist…). There is also a recipe for low-carb marzipan or actually for almond paste. However, I wasn’t satisfied with that recipe either. It uses erythritol crystals as sweetener, which have gritty mouthfeel and give the typical “cooling effect”. It also uses water as binding agent. Well, I haven’t used to water in marzipan… I prefer egg whites.
Since I wasn’t completely happy with the existing the low-carb marzipan recipes, I had to develop one. I took the massive Finnish dessert book and pored over the recipe for marzipan. That was simple: almond flour, equal amount of confectioner’s sugar, a couple of egg whites and some bitter almond flavor.
I had just received a sample package of powdered Zsweet sweetener. I’ve always thought it’s pure erythritol, but to my surprise it contains also stevia! Well, I have had also pure powdered erythritol, and this Zsweet seems to taste much better. You can feel a little bit of the cooling effect of erythritol, but it’s far away from being that intensive like in the pure powdered erythritol. Zsweet is also sweeter, so you need it less than pure powdered erythritol.
My sugar-free, low-carb marzipan experiment was a great opportunity to explore more this Zsweet sweetener. For the first experiment I used just some 3.5 oz (100 g) of both almond flour and Zsweet, one egg white and a couple of drops bitter almond flavor. The texture was perfect, but the taste was far too sweet. I shaped some balls which I glazed with very dark chocolate hoping that the dark chocolate balances the excessive sweetness. Well, it did to some extent, but I wanted to get better tasting marzipan.
One experiment I made with pure powdered erythritol since I had some leftovers in my pantry. The resulting marzipan wasn’t sweet enough, and even worse, I could feel the cool erythritol a bit too much. So, back to Zsweet.
The most satisfied I was with the experiment which contained 5.3 oz (150 g) almond flour, 3.5 oz (100 g) Zsweet, 1 egg white from extra large egg and a few drops bitter almond flavor. The texture was great and easily moldable. The taste was sweet, but not too sweet.
In my next experiments I tried coloring the marzipan. I had got some free samples of red super food powder and green super food powder from iHerb. For one batch I added the red powder before adding the egg whites, and for another batch I added the green powder. The colors in the resulting marzipan were intensive and bright! I was extremely positively surprised. I was expecting dull, weak colors.
Of course you can buy ready food colorings, but I wonder how artificial they are. I prefer natural colors. Yes, and where is the challenge if you just take a ready color and add it? Come on, that’s boring! As I love challenges, I also love to search and find as natural colors as I can and experiment with those. I still want to give a try to different berry and vegetable powders. Turmeric for yellow, carrot for orange, blueberry for violet, cocoa powder for brown…
I was also surprised that the green powder didn’t give any bad taste, it was pretty neutral. Also the red powder gave a pleasantly sweet and fresh flavor.
Tips for variation
Since you can use this sugar-free marzipan just like the real stuff, the ways to vary and use the marzipan are endless.
For the ultimate holiday treat I developed a delicacy with a salty, crunchy pistachio in the middle, covered by sweet marzipan and glazed with a generous amount of bitter, very dark chocolate… that’s a perfect combination of different textures and flavors!
You can make marzipan confections by adding chopped nuts, flavorings or chopped dried fruits and berries. Next I plan to make marzipan confections, where I have added chopped dried cherries or cranberries which I first let soak in rum and stevia. If you count carbs faithfully, please take into account that dried fruits and berries contain quite some carbs.
This sugar-free marzipan is great also for molding and shaping decorations on cakes and other baked goods. There are some ideas in the photo below. Well, I apologize my bad photos, I have to take better photos from better decorations in the future when I have more time to make some…
H A P P Y H O L I D A Y S !