Marzipan is a simple dessert that you can manipulate into ornate, decorative pieces. You can frost cakes with marzipan, or use marzipan shapes on top of frosting. Marzipan shapes also look beautiful placed in candy papers in a box, perched atop cupcakes, or even as trim around a candle or bud vase.
Purchase marzipan or make your own. Baking shops, specialty candy stores and high-end grocery stores sell ready-made marzipan. To make your own, combine equal amounts of powdered sugar and almond paste. Add drops of corn syrup until the marzipan forms a soft dough. If it's too sticky, add more powdered sugar. Some people substitute the corn syrup with water, glucose, egg white or fondant.
Determine how much marzipan you plan to use. If you wish to save some for later use, wrap the dough in plastic wrap and place it in an airtight container. You can store the marzipan for two or three weeks in the refrigerator. Be sure to let the mixture come to room temperature before working with it.
Prepare your surfaces. Spread out sheets of baking paper on your work area, to protect surfaces from food coloring and also to ease the removal of the marzipan shapes once you are finished. Separate the marzipan into sections and add in the different shades of food coloring. Knead the dough to work the color through the marzipan.
Roll out the marzipan dough for thin shapes, and use the teaspoon to form balls for more three-dimensional shapes. To create leaves, roll green dough to about a half inch of thickness. Use a cookie cutter or small knife to cut out leaves. Draw the veins and stem of the leaf with a toothpick. Create several petals in different colors to form a flower. Use small balls of marzipan to create fruits and other shapes. You can use a paintbrush to lightly dab food coloring for small details. You can use bits of licorice for stems, a dusting of colored sugar for a glaze, and cloves for stems. Brush egg white on surfaces to add a glaze.
Use a knife to carefully peel the marzipan shapes from the baking paper. Set the shapes in small cupcake papers and place them in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Chill the shapes overnight and they will be ready to use as decorations.
Create textured surfaces by pressing marzipan dough against a grater.
Avoid using too much food coloring, as the resulting marzipan will stain the surfaces it touches.