Thinking ahead about Easter and the treats to serve? I’m a lifelong fan of marzipan, which is made from blanched almonds, sugar and some liquid sugar to make it malleable. The combination of marzipan and dark chocolate in these Mocha Marzipan Truffles is a natural. (They look like Easter eggs from Mars, where we might fine new friends.) The rich toasted notes of good-quality bitter chocolate balance the sweet almond flavors.  When spiked with a little espresso coffee, you’ve got a sophisticated candy made from very few ingredients.  And best of all, there is no baking required when making them.

Pictured here is the marzipan made by American Almond. The company no longer sells it in consumer-sized quantities so I recommend you look for marzipan imported from Germany or a domestic brand packed in a can. In my experience these will be superior to others found in grocery stores. If you only find a brand packed in a plastic tube, buy use their almond paste instead. The best manufacturers use at least 50% almonds in their marzipan. This quantity almond ensures that you’ll have a delicate almond flavor, not a sweet sticky mess.

Marzipan in bucket.

The recipe is simple.  You knead melted unsweetened chocolate into the marzipan. Then you knead in espresso powder that has been liquefied with a small amount of boiling water. Wear disposable gloves when kneading the paste because it is sticky and the chocolate will stain your hands.  Plus it is more sanitary to wear disposable gloves when handling a candy that won’t be cooked before serving.

Forming chocolate marzipan into trufflesIf you have a tiny cookie dough scoop, use it. Otherwise divide the chocolate marzipan into uniform pieces using a teaspoon. Then roll each portion into a smooth ball. As you can see I am working on a silicone mat. Marzipan won’t stick to it and it is easy to clean.

 

Dipping chocolate marzipan truffles into chocolate chips

 

Mocha Marzipan Truffles

Yield: Approximately 32 truffles

Mocha Marzipan Truffles

Ingredients

1 teaspoon instant espresso powder

1 teaspoon boiling water

10 ounces quality marzipan, 50% or more almonds

2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted

Mini chocolate chips, approximately 1½ cups, as needed

8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted

Espresso beans, as needed

Directions

  1. Dissolve the espresso powder in the boiling water.
  2. Place the marzipan in a large bowl. Break it up then add the melted unsweetened chocolate. Knead in the chocolate until it is uniformly distributed throughout the marzipan. Add the espresso solution. Knead it in until well distributed.
  3. Working on a silicone mat or a work surface lightly dusted with confectioner’s sugar, roll the marzipan into a log. Use measuring spoons to portion the marzipan into 1 ½-teaspoon-sized portions. Roll each portion of the marzipan into a smooth ball.
  4. Line a half-sheet pan with a silicone mat or with parchment paper.
  5. Pour the mini chocolate chips into a shallow plate.
  6. Insert a toothpick into one of the balls of marzipan. Dip it into the melted bittersweet chocolate so that the marzipan is covered two thirds of the way with chocolate. Hold the dipped truffle over the bowl so that the excess chocolate drips off. Then dip the truffle into the mini chocolate chips.
  7. Place the dipped marzipan onto the prepared sheet tray. Repeat with all of the marzipan truffles.
  8. Press an espresso bean into each truffle to cover the hole made by the toothpick.
  9. Refrigerate for 2 hours or more until the chocolate coating is firm.
  10. Serve immediately. Or keep refrigerated until ready to serve. These candies will keep for up to 2 weeks when refrigerated.

Notes

Variation: Melt 10 ounce chocolate chips of chopped bittersweet chocolate for dipping the truffles. Add 1 teaspoon coconut oil to the chocolate used for dipping. Stir well. Dip each marzipan truffle into the chocolate. Let the chocolate drain well then place the dipped truffle on the prepared sheet. Press a piece of freeze-dried raspberry and an espresso bean into the top for garnish.