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Chocolate Coated Marzipan Squares from Anja Dunk, Advent

Chocolate Coated Marzipan Squares from Anja Dunk, Advent


Cookery writer and Bird pal Anja Dunk has just released Advent, her latest book to celebrate the coming of Christmas.
Anja shares two exclusive recipes with Birdfeed, and says of Chocolate Coated Marzipan Squares, "These little sweets came about one autumn when we found the ground on our usual path to school scattered with walnuts. After dropping the boys off I rushed home, scooping up as many nuts along the way as I could carry.

"Back in the kitchen all sorts of walnut creations took place: this one I wrote down in my notebook for Christmas. The flavours come from a German-Polish border biscuit that Helga, our late German neighbour in Wales, used to put on her Bunter Teller. I asked her one year for the recipe, but she was reluctant to pass it on. The biscuit base was spread with apricot jam, a layer of marzipan next, followed by half a walnut crown all wrapped up in a glaze of vodka icing. 

"In one bite-size biscuit, they swept me directly to cold snowy cobbled streets with people's breath handing in clouds under the glow of street lamps. There was just something about them that seemed so old-fashioned that was hard to put my finger on it - the vodka somehow brought a mysterious feeling of cold into your mouth."

200g (70z) walnuts
75g (1/2 cup plus 1/2 tbsp) icing, (confectioners') sugar, sifted
1-2 tbsp vodka
180g (6oz) dark chocolate
1/2 tsp coconut oil
Flaky sea salt to sprinkle on top

Place the walnuts in a food processor and blitz for about 2 minutes until finely ground, then scrape down the sides of the processor and blitz again for a couple of minutes until the oils are released from the nuts and the mixture begins to clump together.

Add the icing sugar along with a tablespoon of vodka and blitz again until a smooth paste forms. You may need to add a bit more vodka depending on how fresh the nuts are. 

Form the marzipan into a rectangle 1cm/in deep and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Put the chocolate and coconut oil into a heatproof bowl and place the bowl over a small saucepan with 1cm/inch depth of water in the bottom. Turn the heat on low and wait for the chocolate to melt. Once it starts melting, stir so that the coconut oil is evenly dispersed. Take off the heat once the chocolate is glossy and fluid.

Line a baking sheet with non-stick baking parchment.

Cut the marzipan into 1cm/inch square and, using a fork held horizontally withe the tines pointing upwards to balance the marzipan on, dip each square carefully into the chocolate, so that it is completely covered. Lift gently onto baking paper and continue until all squares are covered. Sprinkle each square with a little flaky sea salt and allow to set before boxing up.

Stored in an airtight container, these will keep well for up to a week. 

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