Marzipan Harvest Table Topper
YOUR HARVEST will be happy indeed when you reap this sweet centerpiece. To create the topper, CT home economists first turned to this age-old idea traditionally used during Christmas—marzipan candy. Then they cultivated it with autumn in mind and turned out this country-fresh fall decoration. As you may know, marzipan, an edible modeling clay, is a mixture of sugars and sweet almond paste (available in the baking section of grocery stores) that can be tinted and shaped into all sorts of decorations... just like those featured here. Since it's so sweet, this table topper can be passed around for dessert when your meal is complete. Or you might choose to use the design solely as a centerpiece you bring out autumn after autumn. Simply place it in an airtight container between parties—it'll harden and stay colorful for years to come!
Total TimePrep: 1 hour
- 7 ounces almond paste
- 1/4 cup light corn syrup
- 1-1/4 cups confectioners' sugar
- Liquid or paste food coloring
- Baking cocoa (optional for acorn coloring)
- Cutting board or other protected work surface
- Assorted mini craft baskets and small wooden wagon
- Leaf-shaped cookie cutters (1 to 2 inches)
- Marzipan: Crumble almond paste into a large bowl. Knead in corn syrup. Gradually add confectioners' sugar, kneading well after each addition until thoroughly blended. To tint, break off desired size piece of marzipan and knead in color a little at a time, using food coloring (for brown, add baking cocoa instead if desired).
- SHAPING: Each Acorn: Form a 1/4-in. to 1/2-in. slightly oblong ball of brown marzipan.
- For the cap, add more food coloring or baking cocoa to tint a small piece of marzipan to a slightly darker brown. Form into a flattened circle and press onto top of acorn. Insert a whole clove or brown marzipan into cap for stem. Use a toothpick or knife point to gently dot the cap for texture.
- Each Apple: Form a 3/4-in. ball of red marzipan. Curve slides slightly. Pinch bottom gently to taper. Use a toothpick or sharp knife to indent top and bottom of apple. For stem, insert a whole clove or shape a brown marzipan stem and press into top indentation.
- Each Ear of Corn: Form a 1/2-in. ball of yellow marzipan into along cylinder shape about 1-1/2 in. long. Slightly taper one end to form the top of the cob. For kernels, roll small pieces of yellow marzipan into balls. Press balls onto cob in rows. For corn husks, roll a ball of green marzipan between pieces of waxed paper to 1/8-in. thickness. On waxed paper, layer on top of green marzipan, draw three 1-3/4-in. long x 1/2-in.-wide elongated leaf shapes. Peel away top layer of waxed paper and use knife to cut out husks onto the sides of the cob, overlapping at bottom of center front, and one to cover the back of cob, overlapping edges of side. Gently curve top points of each husk out.
- Leaves: Knead together equal portions of red, yellow and orange marzipan a few times to create a marble effect. Roll out between pieces of waxed paper to 1/8-in. thickness. Cut out leaves with a cookie cutter. Use a toothpick or sharp knife to score veins on the leaves. For stem, insert a whole clove or shape a brown marzipan stem and insert. Sprinkle with sugar if desired.
- Pumpkins: Form balls of orange marzipan, ranging in size from 1/2 in. to 1-1/2 in. Depress slightly to flatten top and bottom. Use a toothpick or sharp knife to make shallow ridges around sides from center top to bottom. For stems, insert a whole clove in center top of each pumpkin or shape one for each from brown marzipan and insert.
Editor's Note: You can use any size baskets and wagon to suit your centerpiece design. The baskets we used are 3 x 2 inches and the wagon is 3 inches high x 3-/3/4 inches long x 2-3/4 inches wide.