This is a great recipe using homemade (or storebought) marzipan, and with some great tips to get you started with your own marzipan cake decorations.
** Note - if you are using store bought marzipan, then skip this entire section and go to 'Making Marzipan Cake Decoration'.
To begin, if your almonds are not pre-peeled, then you will have to peel them.
To de-skin almonds, pour some boiling water over them and let them soak for 5 minutes.
Drain almonds and plate on a dry towel dry,
Use your fingers to twist and squeeze skin off of almonds.
Let them dry completely before blending.
In the top of a double boiler, mix the egg whites and sugar.
Whisk until the sugar dissolves and the mixture comes to 71°C/ 160°F on a candy thermometer.
Divide this syrup in two bowls and set aside.
In a food processor, pulse the dry almonds until they turn int a very fine flour.
Add the confectioner’s sugar and pulse again.
Now add the almond extract and one bowl of the egg white mixture in a slow pour.
Blend until a dough comes together to make a ball.
Dust a clean work surface with confectioners' sugar.
Take this ball of dough out and transfer to the work surface.
Knead the marzipan. If it is crumbly or bits of oil are being released, then add more egg white syrup and continue kneading.
*Note - you may not end up using all the egg/syrup mixture.
If the mixture gets too soft, you can sprinkle in a bit more confectioners' sugar.
The end results should feel malleable, like dough.
Making Marzipan Cake Decorations
* Since you will be rolling the marzipan with your hands a bit, it is nice to wear plastic gloves so you do not stain them.
To get color, a couple drops at at time, add gel paste food coloring or natural fruit juices until the desired color is reached. Knead the marzipan while you add the color so it can spread out into the mixture.
At this point, you can save it for later by wrapping it in plastic wrap and storing it in the fridge. Let it come to room temperature any time you want to use it.
From here, you can get creative (we all played with play-dough right?), and make any shapes, or scenes that you want to decorate your desserts.
Coming soon: Grandmother's Kitchen video showing you how to make the roses you see in the image, since this is much easier than typing it out.
For now, an excellent place to see some step by step images is from this great blog: http://www.americanalmond.com/blog/mad-for-marzipan/