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Shared by Stella Hanan Cohen

Masapan (Marzipan)

Yield: 50 piecesTime: 1 h

Shared by Stella Hanan Cohen

Masapan with silver dragées on crescent shaped plate, atop purple tablecloth.
Photographer: Armando Rafael. Food and Prop Stylist: Mariana Velasquez.

Masapan (Marzipan)

Yield: 50 piecesTime: 1 h

Family Journey

SpainRhodes, GreeceMarmarise, Turkey
Élisabethville, Belgian Congo (present-day Lubumbashi, Democratic Republic of the CongoSalisbury, Rhodesia (present-day Harare, Zimbabwe)

“We acquired the centuries old skill from the nuns of the convents of Toledo, handcrafting freshly ground almonds with sugar syrup into orange blossom scented ‘masapan,’” Stella explains. It’s an essential part of wedding celebrations in her community. 

Read more about Stella's family in "These Medieval Spanish Recipes Live on in Zimbabwe" and try her recipes for Pan d’Espanya (Orange Sponge Cake), Menenas (Shortbread Filled With Dates and Walnuts), and Boulukunio (Almond and Sesame Brittle).


  • 1 pound blanched almonds
  • 2 cups warm water
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

For shaping

  • 1 cup water 
  • 1 teaspoon orange blossom water 

For decorating

DessertsPurimVegetarianVeganPareveWestern Europe


  • Step 1

    Grind the almonds, a small batch at a time, in a food processor, until very finely ground and sandy in texture. Pulse, using the on-off action, to control that it does not grind to an oily paste. 

  • Step 2

    Put the warm water and sugar into a large, heavy-based stainless-steel pan over low heat. To avoid crystallisation, ensure that the sugar is completely dissolved before the syrup comes to a boil. Bring the syrup to a boil over a high heat, without stirring. Boil the sugar for about 30 minutes or until the sugar reaches a soft ball stage (235 degrees Fahrenheit). At this stage the sugar syrup will feel tacky and a short thread, about ½ inch in length, will form between your wetted finger and thumb when they are pulled apart. Remove the pan from the heat, add the ground almonds and lemon juice, stirring vigorously with a wooden spoon. Return to a low heat and continue stirring constantly for about 5 minutes or until the paste comes away from the sides of the pan. Be sure to stir continuously so that the mixture does not stick to the bottom of the pan or scorch. To test if the marzipan is ready, roll a small amount of the mixture, the size of a small marble, between your palms. If it stays in a ball and does not stick to your hands, remove from the heat. 

  • Step 3

    Transfer the marzipan into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Beat the marzipan over a medium speed for 2 minutes or until the mixture is combined well and increases in volume, adding ½ teaspoon of water at a time if needed to bring the mixture together.

  • Step 4

    Shape the marzipan: Place 1 cup of water into a small bowl and add 1 teaspoon of orange blossom water. Dampen your hands in the scented water and roll the paste into ropes that are about 1 inch thick. Cut the ropes with a sharp knife into 1½ inch diagonal sections and press a silver ball into the center of each piece of marzipan.