Yield: About 14 1.5-inch brains
- 1/2 cup shelled unsalted roasted pistachios
- 1.5 cups powdered sugar
- 2 tbsp + 2 tsp corn syrup
- 1/2 tsp vegetable oil
- Black food coloring (optional)
- Food processor
1. If your pistachios are not already roasted, spread them out on a baking sheet and roast them in a 350 degree F oven for 6-10 minutes, stirring occasionally so they don't burn. Take them out when they are fragrant and look toasted. Let them cool completely.
2. Place the pistachios in a food processor and process them until they are a smooth paste. At first they will be in fine crumbs and it might take several minutes for them to go from crumbs to a paste, but keep processing. Once you have a paste, stop the processor.
3. Add the powdered sugar and process until it's well-mixed. At this point you will have a fine powder in your processor with flecks of nut throughout.
4. Now add the corn syrup and vegetable oil and process for 20-30 seconds, until it's well-mixed and the marzipan starts to come together. It will still look dry, but when you squeeze it into ball in your hands it should hold together. If it is too dry to hold together, continue processing for another 10-20 seconds. If it is still too dry, add more corn syrup, just 1/2 tsp at a time, until it holds together when you press it into a ball.
5. If you want to make your brains a greenish-gray color, mix a few drops of black food coloring with a 1/2 tsp of water. Remove the marzipan from the processor and start kneading it by hand. Sprinkle the black water over the marzipan and continue kneading. (If you're not using food coloring, just add a little water as necessary.) As you knead and sprinkle the water the marzipan will come together into a smooth, shiny ball. Add a little more food coloring if necessary to get a color you're happy with.
6. The marzipan is still a little bit stiff at this point, so it's best to let it sit for about an hour before trying to shape it. Wrap it well with cling wrap and put it in an airtight container.
7. When you're ready to shape the brains, start by rolling a spoonful of marzipan into a small oblong ball. I try to keep them on the small side (about a teaspoon of marzipan) because if they get too large, the candies are unwieldy and most people don't want to eat a huge hunk of marzipan.
8. Once your ball is rolled, pinch off a bit of marzipan and roll it into a very thin worm. The thinner, the better. Press the worm against the side of the ball in a wavy pattern to resemble the folds of the brain--refer to the photo tutorial or the picture above to help you. Continue until all of your brains have been shaped.
9. Store marzipan brains in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week. The marzipan will actually last much longer than that, but tastes freshest and best within a week.