Over Christmas, like the majority of others, I spent a lot of time in the kitchen. I’ve always liked the idea of making edible gifts, especially when they’re personalised and wrapped in little gift bags, so I decided to use my time off to do just that. This year, my foods of choice were gingerbread, florentines and marzipan dates.
Gingerbread has become a bit of a tradition over the last few years, something I always insist on making at the last minute (much to my Mum’s annoyance), and icing just as people start to walk through the door for lunch. Florentines, with their crunchy nuts, sweet fruit and rich layer of dark chocolate seemed an obvious choice for the festive period. And marzipan, one of my all time favourite things that I’ll happily admit to picking off a Christmas cake, leaving it bare, was something I’ve always meant to make myself, but never got round to.
I used this recipe for marzipan, but doubled it and used a tad more almond extract. It made enough to fill about 30 dates, with a big ball leftover for me to pick on over the coming days. It takes all of five minutes, with minimal washing up and makes a really soft, fragrant and sticky dough. Make sure you wrap it up tightly in clingfilm and keep it in the fridge.
Bring the marzipan back to room temperature when you’re ready to use it. Use your hands to roll it into small balls that fit nicely inside the pitted dates. To finish, stud a pistachio nut into the marzipan for a bit of crunch.