At some point in every cook’s life the question of marzipan vs. almond paste comes up. It’s just one of those confusing topics in the world of cooking – and it is often made worse because some people say they are completely interchangeable. I will let you be the judge of that.
Marzipan is generally made from very finely ground peeled almonds, sugar (or sugar syrup) and usually an egg white and some background aroma. The final result is a smooth, semi-sweet mixture that is easily molded. It is mostly used to create cute little figures or representations of things in a decorative manner or as a covering for a cake – sort of like fondant.
Almond paste is also made from ground almonds and sugar. It usually contains an egg and the texture is mostly somewhat coarser than marzipan. Almond paste is used as a filling more than a topping – if you’ve ever eaten an almond croissant, then you have eaten almond paste.
These days, the differences in commercially-made versions of both are often rather subtle and involve sugar content. Almond paste usually has equal amounts of almonds and sugar, whereas marzipan has somewhat more sugar in the ratio. Mostly, marzipan and almond paste can be substituted for each other, but judge for yourself.
Making your own versions are simple, so this is usually what I stick to and avoid the commercially-made versions.
How to make your own marzipan