German Lebkuchen Cookies

Almond paste aka marzipan is used in many traditional Dutch, Italian, German, Swedish and God knows how many other European  holiday recipes. To buy it (if you can find it) is a very expensive proposition. You can make it better and easier.

You can buy blanched almonds in the store or remove the skins yourself. You will also need a food processor or heavy-duty blender to get the proper texture. This recipe yields about 1.5 pounds of almond paste.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups raw almonds, blanched
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 tbsp water
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice

Preparation:

1. Place the raw blanched almonds in the bowl of the food processor and process them until they are a very, very fine powder. Stop periodically and scrape the sides of the bowl. Watch the nuts carefully, as you do not want them turning into almond butter. Once the almonds are a fine powder, turn the processor off but leave them in the bowl.

2. In a medium saucepan combine the sugar, water, and lemon juice over medium-high heat. Stir until the sugar dissolves, then wash the sides with a wet pastry brush to remove sugar crystals.

3. Once the sugar syrup comes to a boil, begin timing it and let it boil for three and a half minutes.

4. After 3.5 minutes, remove the syrup from the stove and pour it into a large measuring cup with a spout. Turn the food processor on and carefully pour the syrup into the nuts in a slow stream. Continue to run the processor until all of the syrup has been poured in and is incorporated.

5. Once it is blended, stop the processor and remove the almond paste. Wrap it tightly in saran wrap and store it in the refrigerator for 3-4 days to cure before using.

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