Is Marzipan Healthy?

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Marzipan is a confection made from ground almond paste and sugar. The word Marzipan is derived from old English word Marchpane meaning "bread". In fifteenth-century England, it was called by many names mazapan, marcepain and masspan.  In Europe, a law has been issued which states that a Marzipan must have 14% of almonds and 8.5% of moisture. Many confectioners sell inexpensive Marzipan made from soy paste, almond essence and sugar. One can roll, mould or even cut Marzipan dough into flamboyant characters. Usually Marzipan dough is yellowish white in color. Nowadays, colored Marzipan is widely available. Marzipan is used for decorating wedding , birthday and Christmas cakes. This popular delicacy is also used for  stuffing in muffins. During New Year's Day, Marzipan molded into small figures of animals, fruits, vegetables, and flowers is served as a traditional treat. It is the key garnishing ingredient for "Tortell" and"King Cake" served exclusively during carnival season. Traditionally, Swedish Princess Cake is layered with green Marzipan coat. 



What is the history behind Marzipan?

Marzipan is mostly prepared during Halloween, Christmas and Thanksgiving day. Most Marzipan connoisseurs believe that the Iranians were the first to make Marzipan during the 6th or 7th century AD and the Turks introduced them to the western world. Others believe that Marzipan was actually invented in Italy. Apart from this, many food historians largely agree that Marzipan originated in China. However, since ages, Lubek in Germany and the city of Konigsberg in East Prussia were well-known for their Marzipan production. The etymology of the term"Marzipan" is unclear but is documented as Marzapane in Italian language. Though history debate on its origin, Marzipan is relished worldwide. 



What are the key ingredients of Marzipan?

The main ingredients of Marzipan are powdered almond and sugar. The sugar can be either granulated or confectioners' type. Most of confectioners prefer to combine both types of sugar for making Marzipan. Moreover, stabilizing agents like water, egg white, corn syrup, or glucose is also used. Egg yolk, vanilla extract, lemon juice and rose water are further added to the dough to bring out the rich flavor.



How to make Marzipan at home?

Marzipan is easy to make. The process is as follows, 

  • Mix equal amounts of almond paste and sugar along with the egg white or corn syrup. The mixture should come together as soft dough. Some people prefer to use a little water mixed with brandy to bind the paste.
  • Edible food colors can be added based on preference.
  • Slivers of shelled nuts like almonds and pistachios are added to improve the texture.
  • Exotic ingredients such as cherries and chocolate chips can be incorporated for a rich flavor.
  • Now, Marzipan dough is ready. It can be molded into different shapes and served.


What are the nutrients in Marzipan?

  • Marzipan is made from almonds which aids in the brain development. Almonds contain high levels of vitamin E (a powerful antioxidant) which protects the cells from free-radicals damage.
  • Almonds are rich in folic acid. Pregnant women are recommended to consume Marzipan as it can prevent birth defects.
  • The presence of almonds and other nuts in Marzipan boost brain development.



What are the side-effects of Marzipan?

  • People allergic to almonds must avoid Marzipan. Symptoms include mild to severe nausea, lip swelling, cramps, sneezing, watery eyes, and dizziness.
  • Over consumption of Marzipan increases the risk of obesity, cancer, heart diseases and type II diabetes.
  •  High in processed sugarMarzipan causes cavities, tooth decay and periodontitis.
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