Sunday, April 7, 2024

Ice Cream: My new favorite topping: Mazapán

I tried the chocolate-peanut Mazapán ice cream recipe from Fany Gerson’s Mexican Ice Cream book, and I cannot say enough good things about mazapán, which will be a delicious stir-in to many ice creams.

What is mazapán, you may ask? Well, it's a little like marzipan, but made with peanuts instead of almonds, and it's somewhere between a cookie and a candy.

It's very simple, typically made with two ingredients: unsalted, roasted peanuts, and powdered sugar.  You process them in a food processor until it holds together, then you press the mixture into molds to make a delicate, crumbly cookie.  

It's a little like the center of regular Reece's peanut butter cups, but drier and more crumbly.  

Anyway it's delicious in ice cream - (when you cut the cookies up, leave the chunks reasonably large, at least chocolate-chip sized). Keep the mazapans in the fridge until it's time to stir them into the ice cream once churning is complete.

Here's a recipe:

If you’ve never tried it, be sure to look at several recipes (google for "peanut mazapan"), and watch a few videos to get a feel for how to make it (you MUST work the mixture in the food processor until fine enough to hold together, and that takes awhile. If you find you can’t get the mazapans to hold together, put them back in, and work it longer). I also pressed it out in a mat and cut circles with a cookie cutter instead of loading them individually. I pressed the mixture down in the cutter with the back of a spoon before removing the cutter and transferring the cookie. I grabbed the leftovers and made a smaller mat… rinse and repeat.

April 22, 2024 update: I've decided that my mazapanes were over-processed, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. I decided to see what the candy is supposed to taste like, so I ordered some La Rosa mazapán from Amazon.

To my surprise, it was really quite different. Much paler, far more fragile, and sweeter, tasting strongly of powdered sugar. They remind me a little of Mexican wedding cookies, or even a powdered doughnut. They crumble easily (it's a bit surprising I managed to get one unwrapped in one piece for the photo below). Mine are more cohesive, have a stronger peanut flavor, and the peanut chunks are finer. The peanuts are also roasted less.

The darker one is my homemade mazapán, and
the paler one is made by La Rosa in Mexico.

For the purposes of ice cream - because mine was more cohesive, they provided really nice pops of peanut flavor in the mixture, and I also liked the toastier peanut flavor, whereas the traditional mazapán is going to break up more when it's stirred into the ice cream, and the flavor with be both milder, and more distributed.  But, I really loved the bigger chunks of peanut in the the La Rosa product.

The next time, I'm planning to overprocess half of the batch on purpose, maybe even processing it further than I did. For the second half, I will stop processing when the mixture is still quite coarse (but the oil has started to release), then integrate the two.  It may not be traditional, but it'll be delicious.  

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