Misfits, your Bad Mama Genny is a pretty happy person, generally speaking. Sometimes, however, there are…dark…things that haunt me.
Problems that seem to multiply when my back is turned, and then I whip around, hoping to catch them in action, thinking that if I’m fast enough, clever enough, I can outwit them, I can halt their progress–but I’m always just a second too late, turning a moment after all evidence is gone, left only with a distinct chill, and the knowledge that things will only continue to creep up behind me…
Naturally, the chill of which I speak is, of course, that of the freezer, and the nagging creep-up is that of bags and bags of leftover almond pulp.
Allow me to backtrack. I don’t drink cow’s milk since I’m a lactard. And while I currently just swallow my pride and drink Almond Breeze Unsweetened Almond Milk (a small price to pay for my sanity), there was a time when I would routinely make my own almond milk. The process, for those of you who are BLISSFULLY FUCKING UNFAMILIAR, involves soaking your almonds for hours, blending them with water, and then straining the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve.
While I do somewhat exaggerate the annoyance of this process, I definitely am not overemphasizing the difficulty of finding uses for the leftover, strained-out almond pulp that remains. I, like many who make their own almond milk, have spent embarrassing amounts of time Googling potential uses for the stuff, which is still too viable and, let’s be honest, too damn expensive to just chuck into the trash. Popular ideas found online include making cookies out of it, blending it into a dip, and making pie crusts with it.
I now take a deep sense of pride in being able to say that I’ve added to that illustrious list with my newest recipe–Almond Pulp Marzipan! Yes, that’s right, folks–I’ve taken a healthy product, utilized most often by vegans and raw food enthusiasts, and CRAMMED IT FULL OF SUGAR just in time for the holidays!
Fly me to the friggin’ moon!
So what to do with your rustic marzipan? I carefully wrapped and froze mine to use in making holiday stollen breads, but not before ingesting what probably amounted to several hefty spoonfuls (and I got a lot of work done in the eighteen sleepless hours that followed! HAVE I MENTIONED THAT MARZIPAN IS BASICALLY DAYQUIL IN SOLID FORM?!?!?!
The end result here isn’t the same creamy beige as a traditional marzipan, as it’s studded with little almond skin reminders, but I actually like it just fine this way. It’s still just perfect for filling cakes and breads, dipping into chocolate, or keeping you up at night, and really, who could ask for anything more from their marzipan? While this stuff isn’t ideal for making little lifelike fruits, I daresay it would make very lifelike marzipan smallpox victims!
Enjoy, but remember this: use all of your almond pulp in this recipe, or you just might throw open the freezer a second too late one day, feeling so cold, so alone, and so so foolish for trusting the almond pulp not to reproduce behind closed freezer doors.
**Smallpox victims not your style? Already made enough to recreate France’s last epidemic? Why not swirl little chunks of this marzipan into the nondairy ice cream of your choice (coconut!) a la this recipe? I’d add coarsely chopped almonds, too.**
Marzipan (from leftover almond pulp)
Makes more marzipan than any normal person probably needs, or enough for a small army of smallpox victims
About 4, maybe 4 1/2 cups of almond meal (dehydrate your almond pulp or dry it out in a 200 oven, then grind it into a fine flour using a food processor–this is almond meal)
2 cups sugar
2/3 cup water
1 teaspoon almond extract (I like my marzipan really almond-y; you can leave this out if you like)
2 egg whites, lightly beaten
Powdered sugar, for kneading
Set up an ice water bath in a large bowl. Set aside. In a large saucepot or Dutch oven, combine the sugar and water–stir it over medium heat until it dissolves. Bring the mixture to a boil and throw a cover on it. Let it go for about two minutes, then insert a candy thermometer and let it boil until it reaches 240F degrees, or what candy makers refer to as the “soft-ball” stage. When it hits this temperature, remove the pan from the heat and drop it into the ice water bath. Use a whisk to beat the solution while it cools down–after a few minutes, it will become thick and a bit foggy. When this happens, return the pot to the stove and mix in the almond meal, egg whites, and almond extract. Put a low heat under the pot and stir until all the ingredients are well-combined and have formed a thick dough.
At this point, put a generous amount of powdered sugar on a clean table or countertop. Use the spoon to plop your marzipan mixture onto the sugared surface. Dust your hands with another generous helping of sugar, and when the mixture is cool enough to handle, begin to knead the mixture. You will need to continuously add more sugar to keep the marzipan from sticking to you or the counter. When the dough is thick, firm, and not so ungodly sticky that you can’t touch it without walking away with it attached to you, then you’ve got marzipan! At this point, you can keep it tightly wrapped or in an airtight container in the fridge (it lasts for a while due to the high sugar content). The marzipan, unlike the almond pulp, will not reproduce while you’re not watching. Unfortunately.