dairy free / Free from / gluten-free / Sweets / vegan / vegetarian

Marzipan chocolate bunnies

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I’m seeing my boyfriend for the first time in over a month in a couple of days and I want to make him something tasty (mainly so he never leaves me for so long again!). He absolutely loves marzipan, so much so that it was a regular gift from his grandmother when he was a boy, and so do I – come to think of it, who doesn’t like marzipan? Although he would be very happy eating it straight up, I want to make something a little special…and rabbit shaped for Easter!

I’m using a tiny rabbit cutter which I spotted when I bought the egg rings to make crumpets and now I can christen it with these marzipan chocolates! Pleasing on the eye and a little quirky, especially with their fluffy hazelnut tails, these beautiful chocs can be a little fiddly to finesse but your efforts will pay off. Promise!

You could make these any shape you like really if you don’t fancy rabbits – simple discs or balls, topped with an almond or hazelnut, would give a lovely classic look (and be a lot simpler to coat in chocolate without worrying about delicate ears and the like…).

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***MARCH 2016 UPDATE: A MOTIVATIONAL NOTE ON TEMPERING CHOCOLATE – tempering gives your chocolate shine but it’s a tricky skill to learn and, if I’m honest, I am yet to perfect the art myself. Do not despair if you don’t manage first time and your chocolate blooms a little – stick at it and it will still taste divine!***

Marzipan chocolate bunnies

Makes about 40 bunnies

Ingredients:

– 30g blanched hazelnuts (about 40 nuts)
– 50g good quality white chocolate, chopped into small pieces*
– 250g marzipan
– icing sugar, for rolling
– 100g good quality dark chocolate, chopped into small pieces*

*If you’re dairy-free, you’ll need to substitute this for DF dark chocolate. Sooooorry.

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Method:

For the tails:

Toast the hazelnuts in a pan on a low-medium heat for about five minutes or until they get slightly tanned. Set aside to cool. Tip: You could skip this step but toasting brings out the nuttiness in the hazelnuts and really adds to the overall taste. Just saying…

Whilst the hazelnuts are cooling, temper the white chocolate: melt the chocolate in a bowl over a pan of simmering water, stirring occasionally. Heat to 40-45°C and then remove from the heat. Cool over a bowl of cold water, stirring continuously, until it reaches 26°C. Then, finally(!), reheat over the bowl of simmering water again until it reaches 29-30°C. Tip: this last step takes a matter of seconds so be vigilant! If the temperature goes any higher, you’ll need to take it back to 40-45°C and start again…sorry!

Once your chocolate is tempered, dunk the hazelnuts in, allow the excess to drip off and place on a piece of baking paper to cool a little. Once the chocolate is just beginning to set, gently roll around in a sieve to get the ‘spiky’ truffle effect and leave to set on baking paper.

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For the bodies:

Dust your work surface and rolling pin with icing sugar and roll out the marzipan to just over 1/2cm thick. Cut out your rabbits with the biscuit cutter.

Now time to temper the dark chocolate: melt the chocolate in a bowl over a pan of simmering water, stirring occasionally. Heat to 45-50°C and then remove from the heat. Cool over a bowl of cold water, stirring continuously, until it reaches 27°C. Then, finally(!), reheat over the bowl of simmering water again until it reaches 31-32°C. Tip: note that the temperatures are different for white and dark chocolate (and milk too) – stay calm!

Once your chocolate is tempered, dunk the marzipan rabbits in one at a time, allow the excess to drip off, and place on a piece of baking paper to set. I found this extraordinarily messy but muddled through with a method involving a toothpick and a fork which more or less did the trick. If you’re feeling fancy, you could invest in some proper chocolate dipping tools.

Dipping all the bunnies will take a while so if the chocolate gets too cool and gloopy, gently reheat over the water bath once in a while.

To finish, pop a little hazelnut tail on each bunny. Et voilà!

Store in an airtight container.

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Source: Recipe and photos by pip & little blue.

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