09 December 2011

Almond and marzipan breads, and a little story

One of my alltime favourites. Unfortunately, the dough only makes for about 35 pieces. Christmas six years ago, we had to make this recipe three times because the biscuits were gone so quickly.

Fresh out of the oven. They're a marvel. Filled with a marzipan cointreau mixture, then rolled up, glazed with egg yolk and decorated with almonds. Uhhh, how I love Christmas!

Oh, and I have quite a funny story to tell of the evening we made them: We had just carried a couple of biscuits onto the balcony to make them cool more quickly when we discovered a butterfly sitting on the curtain of the living room window. A butterfly. In December. Inside the house.
It just kept sitting here, not opening its wings, not moving, nothing. I tried to tempt it with a flower but it wasn't interested. Or just scared shitless. Finally, I smeared a bit of the marzipan cointreau stuff on my finger and held it up to the butterfly. And it walked onto my hand and started to eat. It stayed on my hand even when it had finished eating, eventually even opening its beautiful wings. It was a peacock butterfly. The most beautiful ever. I fed it some sugary water later that evening and carried it around the flat until bedtime because it just wouldn't leave my hand. I decided it was a boy and named him Fridolin. Fridolin, the butterfly. I finally got him to leave my hand and to spend the night on a lily but he immediately crawled back on my hand when I checked up on him the next morning. In the afternoon, we finally put him in a box und took him to a sheltered hay shed where he could hibernate.

Stunning animals, butterflies, aren't they? He was actually a whole lot prettier, incredibly luminous colours... I hope he's well. Happy hibernating, Fridolin! Maybe we'll meet again next spring.

Almond and marzipan breads
(Recipe adapted from Backen im Advent)

280 g/1.75 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
100 g/0.5 cups sugar
100 g/0.5 cups butter
1 egg
2 egg whites
250 g/1 cup marzipan
20 ml/0.5-1 oz cointreau
1 sachet vanilla sugar
1 egg yolk
100 g/1.3 cups flaked almonds

Mix flour, baking powder and sugar in a large, shallow bowl. Add the butter and the egg, and knead into a smooth dough. Wrap in cling film and refridgerate for at least half an hour.

Beat the egg whites until stiff, then grate in the marzipan. Add the cointreau and the vanilla sugar, and combine.
Preheat the oven to 200° C/390° F.

On a smooth surface, roll out the dough (about 3 mm/0.1-0.2 inches thick) and cut into squares of about 5-6 cm/2 inches in length and width. Put a spoonfull of the marzipan mixture on each square, then roll them up and place on a baking tray lined with baking paper.
Glaze the breads with the egg yolk and sprinkle the flaked almonds on top. Pop the baking tray into the oven and bake for around 20 minutes.

Let cool and bon appétit!

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