Every year for the last 15 years I have made homemade candy at Christmas. This is not a small undertaking and by the end of my week long candy making frenzy I end up with about 40 pounds of candy. Yes, that is a LOT of homemade candy! This year I am making 17 different kinds ranging from homemade caramels to Kahlua truffles. My all time favorite candy is one that I just started making a few years ago called the Hazelnut Marzipan ball. It has only a few ingredients, although you might have to look around for them a bit. I had a lot of trouble finding hazelnuts and one year had to order 6 bags off of Amazon. That was 5 bags too many so we ate a lot of hazelnuts over the next few months!
Those up there are hazelnuts. You might also see them called filberts. Often, you will find them with a skin on them that you have to rub off after you toast them. It isn’t hard to do at all! Just throw the nuts on a cookie sheet, bake in a 350 degree oven for 5 to 10 minutes to toast them. You will start to smell them a bit and they will get shiny with oil. Then, take them out of the oven, dump them on a clean hand towel and rub them really firmly. The skins will rub off and you will be left with toasted hazelnuts. I found these hazelnuts at Whole Foods and some kind soul had already deskinned them so I was happy to skip that step and just roasted for a few minutes in the oven to add a bit of flavor.
That is a picture of marzipan if you were wondering what in the world it is! I have seen this at Cost Plus World Market and I think Michael’s has it in their candy supply isle but I buy mine from a specialty candy supply site since I buy a ton of other things, too. Basically, it is a very sweet dough made from sugar and almonds. It is unbelievably heavenly stuff and I have seriously considered just sitting down and eating the entire roll! This stuff, mixed with toasted hazelnuts, powdered sugar and Frangelico (a Hazelnut liquor) is all you need to make the center for this homemade candy.
Homemade Candy: Hazelnut Marzipan Balls
- ½ cup powdered sugar (plus more for dusting)
- 3 rolls (8 ounces each) of marzipan
- 1½ cups ground and toasted hazelnuts (plus more for sprinkling on top)
- 4 TBSP Frangelico
- melted chocolate coating for dipping (do not use real chocolate unless you temper it! You want chocolate ‘bark’ or ‘coating’ like you find in a craft store!)
- Into a heavy mixer place the powdered sugar, marzipan, ground hazelnuts, and Frangelico. If you do not have a mixer they can be kneaded by hand like a bread dough but it will take a bit of muscle! Use powdered sugar for dusting if you are kneading on a counter or cutting board.
- If your dough seems overly wet and sticky, add enough powdered sugar so you can pinch off small pieces and roll into 1½ inch balls
- Place all of your rolled up balls of center on waxed paper.
- When all of the dough is rolled, melt the chocolate coating in the microwave on LOW (important!) or in a double boiler,
- Once the chocolate is melted, dip each center in melted chocolate and place onto a new piece of wax paper. This sometimes takes a while to get a good technique. I HIGHLY recommend a dipping spoon like they sell at most major craft stores! It only costs a few dollars but will save you a ton of work and make your candy look much prettier!
- As you dip the candies, sprinkle the tops with leftover ground toasted hazelnuts.
- Let firm up for about an hour.
- Store in an airtight container at room temperature. They should be fine for a couple of weeks.
If you have any questions about this recipe, please leave me a comment and I will try to help. I have been making candy for so long that I forget what it is like to try it for the first time and not know what you are doing. Good luck, these are heavenly and homemade candy makes a wonderful gift! If you really want to get into homemade candy making, check out Candyland Crafts for supplies.