Help: Blanching Almonds, Sugar and Caramel Stages
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- 2 cups granulated sugar
- ⅔ cup water
- ⅛ teaspoon cream of tartar
- 4 cups blanched, finely ground almonds
- 2 large egg whites, lightly beaten
- About ½ cup confectioner’s (powdered) sugar
- In a large-size heavy-bottomed pan, combine sugar and water. Heat over medium heat, stirring constantly with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon, until the sugar is completely dissolved. Stir gently to avoid splashing the mixture onto the sides of the pan. Stir in the cream of tartar. When the mixture begins to simmer, cover the pan tightly with a lid for 3 to 4 minutes to allow condensation to form and run down the inside of the pan to help wash away stray sugar crystals.
- Remove the lid, and clip a candy thermometer to the inside of the pan. Return the pan to medium high heat and bring the syrup to a boil, without stirring, until the syrup reaches a temperature of 240 degrees F, a soft-ball stage. While the syrup is cooking, wash away any sugar crystals that form on the sides of the pan by wiping upwards with a damp pastry brush so the sugar crystals don’t fall back into the syrup. Remove pan from the heat and remove the candy thermometer. Be careful, the sugar is extremely hot and will burn your skin if you touch it. Tip: Lower the heat when the temperature reaches about 235 degrees to slow the cooking because at this point it will quickly reach 240 degrees. In addition, remove the pan from the heat just before the syrup reaches 240 degrees to prevent it from going over 240 degrees.
- Dip the bottom of the saucepan in a large bowl of cold water, and beat the syrup with a wooden spoon until the syrup cools and becomes thick and creamy and starts turning white.
- Stir in the ground almonds and egg whites; the mixture may seem dry and crumbly at this point. Place the pan over low heat and stir for 2 to 3 minutes or until the mixture is well mixed. The heat will help to soften the mixture making it easier to mix.
- Sprinkle a large marble board, or large pastry mat with powdered sugar. Turn the marzipan mixture out onto the board.
- Using a rubber spatula or wooden spoon, begin lifting and folding the edges of the marzipan into the center until it is cool enough to handle with your hands.
- Gather the entire mixture up with your hands or dough scraper into a ball and begin kneading until the marzipan becomes smooth and pliable, 5 to 6 minutes, adding additional powdered sugar 1 tablespoon at a time if the marzipan is too sticky. You will probably knead the entire ½ cup powdered sugar into the marzipan; however it is ok to add additional powdered sugar if needed.
- The marzipan can be used immediately, or wrap in plastic wrap and place in a resealable plastic bag or airtight container and refrigerate until ready to use.