[Posted by Ann]
Arts-and-crafts-inclined cooks will enjoy creating candies and edible decorations from marzipan, a sweetened almond paste that is smooth, pliable, and easy to model. Last month I made little marzipan pumpkins from a popular recipe on Food52.com, http://www.food52.com/recipes/7098_pumpkin_marzipan
The ingredients are marzipan paste, (The Odense brand is sold in a tube at Whole Foods,) powdered sugar, honey, and optional pumpkin jam (I used pumpkin butter).
The creator of this recipe is an artist (her screen name is Sagegreen), and her adorable little pumpkins were exquisitely painted using watercolor brushes and the all-natural food colorings available at Whole Foods. Sagegreen thinned her colors with water. The Joy of Cooking suggests thinning with kirsch or a clear liqueur. I found it easier to roll a three-quarter-inch ball of marzipan in a saucer of color, and then to rub color into the surface by rolling the pumpkin around in my hands a few times. I pushed in a whole clove to make the stem, and found that this little step shaped the marzipan into more of a natural pumpkin shape. (To make orange I needed mostly yellow food coloring, with only a drop of red, and a quarter drop of blue.)
Easier, though, was painting on the features with a toothpick dipped in melted chocolate
Come December I am hoping to make little marzipan Christmas trees to set on top of cupcakes, perhaps with a piece of cinnamon stick for the base of the tree trunk.