Love is in the air!
Bridal season has a special meaning for our family this year. My niece will be getting married in a few months, and as the aunt-of-the-bride, I don’t have a specific role, but I will help, wherever needed.
I wanted to see if there were any traditional Armenian recipes associated with bridal showers or weddings, so while flipping through my Armenian cookbooks, I found a recipe for ‘badem’, or marzipan. The recipe, from the ‘Recipes and Recollections’ cookbook by St. Leon Women’s Guild, Fair Lawn, NJ., was submitted by family friend, Ruth Bedevian.
According to Ruth’s note at the end of her recipe, Armenians in Jerusalem prepare badem for christenings, engagements, and weddings. Ruth submitted this recipe in memory of her sister-in-law who welcomed her as a young bride. Years later, Ruth served this at her own daughter’s bridal shower.
Soon I’ll be heading to NJ to attend my niece’s bridal shower, so I thought I’d try my hand at making a simpler version of badem. If my taste-testers give this a thumbs-up review, I might make this for the shower guests.
|Badem, my short-cut version|
My Badem-Making Experiment:
|Almond paste, rose water, and mini cutters|
As an experiment, I bought an 8-oz. can of almond paste (found in the baking aisle of my local grocery store). It was already sweetened, so that eliminated the need for powdered sugar. I did, however, want the rose water flavor, so I added ½ tsp. of rosewater to the prepared paste and kneaded it in. Unfortunately, it wasn’t nearly enough for the rose flavor to stand out.
|Rolled almond paste and mini cutters
I baked the marzipan shapes on a parchment-lined baking sheet at 250°F for about 30 minutes. If I’d had decorative sprinkles, I would have added them before baking. The 8-oz. can of almond paste yielded just about 30 pieces.
|Almond paste creations before baking|
Taste-wise, I don’t know how this short-cut compares to the real thing, but it certainly is a suitable substitute if you’re in a time crunch.
12 cups ground blanched almonds
1 cup rose water
6 cups powdered sugar
Silver nonpareils for decoration
1. Grind almonds to resemble coarse semolina.
2. Mix sugar and almonds, then add rose water, kneading mixture until well-blended.
3. Shape into wedding bells or flowers and decorate with silver nonpareils. Bake on a low heat about 200° to 300°F for 10 minutes.
4. Badem should not be baked until brown. Bottoms should not be browned either.