Currently Reading: The Magician’s Land (The Magicians #3) by Lev Grossman
“‘I’m having weird cravings. Mangos. Marzipan.’ She frowned. ‘And – what’s it called? Fennel? Then it goes away. It’s been so long since I tasted anything.’
“Her voice when she said that last was the closest thing to the old Alice that he’d heard since she woke up.”
There are some flavors that you either love or hate. Marzipan is one of these very decisive ones. Personally, I don’t see the problem with it. A little almond extract, a little rosewater, and a bit of sugar. Perfect.
Now, to be fair, I hated it as a child. But that may have had to do more with my associating it with visits to the homes of relatives I didn’t particularly know who used actual rosewater soaked potpourri. Not, mind you, rose scented potpourri that you can buy now a days from a home decoration store but legitimately rosewater soaked DIY potpourri.
But now I know better. It’s perfect in small doses and goes great with a sweet bread like challah. Or on it’s own as a little nugget of marzipan coated in sugar, with a sliver of almond on top.
Marzipan Challah by Molly Yeh
makes two loaves (easily half-able if you just want one)
1 1/2 c warm water
2 tb dry yeast
1/2 c + 1 tb sugar
6 c all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting (you might need way more, so i like to have 1-2 more cups on hand)
2 tsp kosher salt
a pinch of cardamom
5 large eggs
2/3 c oil
1 tsp almond extract
14 oz marzipan, grated or finely chopped
1 stick butter, softened
1/2 c sugar
1 1/2 tsp almond extract
**for a non-dairy or easier option, you can simply omit the butter and sprinkle the marzipan and sugar onto your dough when shaping. it will still be super delish.
In a measuring cup or small bowl, combine the water, yeast, and 1 tablespoon of sugar. Let sit for a few minutes until it gets foamy on top.
Meanwhile, in a large bowl or bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, mix together the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar, flour, salt, and cardamom. In a separate bowl, whisk together 4 of the eggs, the oil, and the almond extract.
When the yeast has proofed, add it to the dry ingredients, immediately followed by the egg mixture. Mix to combine and knead, either on a floured surface, or with the dough hook for 7-10 minutes, adding more flour as needed, until smooth.
Transfer to an oiled bowl, cover with a damp towel, and let rise until doubled in size, about 2 hours.
to make the filling, beat together all ingredients. the marzipan will stay a little chunky.
on a lightly floured surface, divide the dough into two equal parts. working with one part at a time (keep the other part covered by the damp towel), roll the dough out into a large rectangle, approximately 10 inches by 14 inches. spread half of the filling evenly onto the dough, leaving a 1-inch perimeter, and then roll it up like a jelly roll (the long way). pinch the edges to seal it shut, and then coil into a spiral shape with the seam facing down. place on a parchment-lined baking sheet and repeat with the other half of the dough. let the loaves rise for 30 minutes while you preheat your oven to 375.
whip up the remaining egg with a splash of water and brush it onto the loaves after they’ve risen. sprinkle with slivered almonds and pearl sugar, if using. bake the loaves for 20 minutes, rotate them and tent them with foil, and then bake for another 20 minutes.
let cool briefly and enjoy!