The Best Things Come in Small Packages: Chocolate-Pistachio Marzipan Spirals

I was definitely in a candy-making mood over the weekend, and I decided it was finally time to tackle a recipe that's been on my to-do list for years: Chocolate-Pistachio Marzipan Spirals from Rose's Christmas Cookies. One of the things I like most about this cookbook (which I purchased after discovering Beranbaum's fantastic recipe for the Ultimate Lemon Butter Bar on is that it's chock full of beautiful color photos. There is a picture of every recipe, and when I first saw the full-page photo of these beauties, I knew that I would have to make them some day.

I don't know why I waited this long to try this recipe. It is a bit time consuming, but it's completely worth the effort. First, you make pistachio marzipan by grinding pistachios in a food processor until they form a paste, and then adding powdered sugar, corn syrup, and vegetable oil or glycerin. I also kneaded in a bit of green gel food coloring -- the natural color of the marizpan was more yellow than green, and I thought the spirals would more clearly look like pistachio if they were a bit more green. The recipe advises resting the marzipan at room temperature overnight.

To make the chocolate ganache, you heat heavy cream and corn syrup to boiling, add in chopped bittersweet chocolate, let the chocolate melt, stir until smooth, and then cool to room temperature. You roll out the rested marzipan into a rectangle, spread on the cooled ganache, and roll up the marzipan with the ganache inside. You brush the outside of the rolls with egg white and coat them with chopped pistachios. After chilling the rolls for an hour, you cut them into half-inch slices, and you get nice little spirals. (Maybe it's symptomatic of being in the internet age, but I couldn't help thinking that they look a lot like "@" at signs.)

These spirals are quite small -- only about an inch across -- but boy, do they pack a flavor punch! The pistachio marzipan by itself is absolutely delicious; I will readily admit to eating all of the scraps that I cut off to make a perfect rectangle after rolling it out. The chocolate ganache is also intensely flavorful, and it maintains a lovely soft but not runny texture after being chilled. Together, the pistachio and chocolate flavors and textures are perfect together. These little bites are immensely satisfying and a true delight.

Recipe: "Chocolate-Pistachio Marzipan Spirals" from Rose's Christmas Cookies by Rose Levy Beranbaum.


Suelle said…
These look so pretty. I agree with you that pistachio usually needs additional colouring.
Katie said…
WOW! These look amazing and so striking. I adore marzipan so will have to remember this around Christmas time
Louise said…
These look terrific. Rose's Christmas Cookies is a great book with lots of treasures. I got a copy at a used book store about a dozen years ago but have yet to make everything in it. :-(