My decadent and exquisite Mozartkugeln feature two layers of marzipan and one layer of nougat, all wrapped up in a coat of silky smooth chocolate.
I first discovered Mozartkugeln as a teenager, when I was invited to the home of a German friend one Christmas Eve. It was the most magical, fairytale home I'd ever visited, and it made me want to spend every Christmas in Alsace.
Fast forward several decades to finding fairytale Christmas magic in Slovenia, and with it, the rediscovery of Mozart bonbons. I also discovered that they are not just Christmas confections - that they are in fact, available all year-round. Huzzah!
Since they're not widely available outside Central Europe, I now make them myself. And they are actually very easy to make. If a little time-consuming. But completely worth the effort, in my opinion.
In fact, the most difficult part of making these Austrian confections is not stuffing them in your face as fast as you're making them. Don't say I haven't warned you!
What are Mozartkugeln?
Created in 1890 by Austrian confectioner, Paul Fürst, and originally called Mozart-Bonbons, Mozartkugeln consisted of a ball of pistachio marzipan which was surrounded by a layer of Viennese nougat, coated in dark chocolate, left to harden, and then wrapped in distinctive blue and silver foil.
Although many others have have copied Fürst's bonbons, his descendants continue to hand-make Mozartkugeln to this day.
Over the years, many confectioners around the world have not only produced Mozartkugeln on an industrial scale, they have also been subject to lawsuits, most notably relating to the name and shape. Legally, aside from Fürst, only one other company - Mirabell - is allowed to make perfectly round Mozartkugeln (the rest must have a flattened bottom), and only Fürst's may be called the Original Salzburg Mozartkugeln.
Why did Fürst name his invention after Salzburg's most famous son? Simple, because he was a fan of the composer, who, during the late 19th century, really wasn't at all popular in his home city. I would say that I find that bizarre but history is littered with people who weren't truly appreciated until centuries after their deaths.
Making these wonderful confections is really just a case of whizzing up some marzipan and nougat, rolling into balls, and dipping in chocolate.
Oh, I should point out that in Germany and Austria, nougat is nothing like the Venetian mandorlato (torrone in Italian) we are all used to - German nougat is a chocolate and hazelnut praline - not that dissimilar to my vegan Nutella.
To make marzipan, I generally use a little almond extract to ramp up the delicousness. It works exceptionally well. I don't use it for the pistachio marzipan, though. I find that lemon zest enhances its flavour.
By the way, did you know that pistachio is a member of the cashew family? And did you also know that if improperly stored, it can spontaneously combust?! Don't worry though, it's only been known to happen when pistachios are stored in bulk, so our pantries are safe.
- Almonds - I use whole blanched ones because I loathe peeling nuts. If you don't mind, however, by all means go for the ones with the skins on. But remember to remove the skins before grinding into marzipan.
- Agave nectar - alternatively, you could use light maple syrup.
- Almond extract - not to be confused with almond essence.
- Pistachios - raw ones, not salted. Weigh them after removing them from the shells. Or better still, buy them already shelled!
- Lemon zest - don't omit this, as it helps to bring out the flavour of the pistachios.
- Hazelnuts - again, you can use whole ones in their skins but I find it less trouble to buy them ready-skinned.
- Raw cocoa butter - the type that says it's food-grade, not cosmetic. Cosmetic-grade has had all the flavour and aroma removed, whereas food-grade is still beautifully chocolatey.
- Cocoa powder - ordinary super-market stuff is absolutely fine. Unless you want to splash out on organic cacao, which is also fine.
- Chocolate - your choice of milk or dark. Fortunately, these days, there's some really good vegan milk chocolate, which I actually prefer to dark.
- Plus a little salt.
How to make Mozartkugel
- Roast your hazelnuts, and while they are in the oven, you can be making the two marzipans. (The process is the same for both types.)
- Grind the almonds in a food processor or high-speed blender, until they start to release their oil.
- Add the rest of the marzipan ingredients, and continue to process until everything is well-mixed.
- Tip the mixture onto a board or work surface, and knead it until it's very smooth.
- To make the chocolate nougat, process the hazelnuts as you did the almonds, adding some melted cocoa butter.
- Add the rest of the nougat ingredients, process until everything is fully incorporated.
- Turn out onto a board, and knead until you have a smooth 'dough'.
- To make the bonbons, simply take a small amount of pistachio marzipan, and roll it into a ball.
- Then take a slightly larger piece of nougat, roll it into a ball, and flatten it. Wrap around the pistachio marzipan, and roll it between your palms, ensuring it's smooth.
- Take a larger piece of plain marzipan, roll into a ball, flatten, and wrap around the pistachio-nougat ball. Again, make sure it's smooth.
- Once you've made all 48 balls, melt together some chocolate and cocoa butter, then dip each one, making sure they're evenly coated.
- Place the bonbons onto a sheet of parchment paper to cool and harden.
- Enjoy the fruits of your labour to your heart's content! Or store in an airtight container at room temperature for a couple of months. As if they'd be around that long!
Whether you make these Mozartkugeln for a loved one or keep for yourself (no judging), I am absolutely certain they will be loved by all. Enjoy!
- 150 g blanched almonds
- 3 tablespoon agave nectar
- 10 drops almond extract
- Dash sea salt
- 400 g chocolate (dark or milk)
- 40 g raw cocoa butter (food-grade)
You'll also need:
- cocktail sticks
- non-stick baking tray
- silicone baking parchment
- food processor
Roast the hazelnuts
- Heat your oven to 180C (350F / gas mark 4).
- Spread the hazelnuts in a single layer onto a baking tray, and roast for 15 minutes.
- Add the rest of the marzipan ingredients, and process for another 30 seconds, until everything is incorporated.
- Turn out onto a board, and knead for 2-3 minutes, until you have a large, smooth ball. Set aside.
- As with the plain marzipan, place the almonds and pistachios into the food processor, and process for 3-5 minutes. When you can make a little ball, add the rest of the ingredients, and process for another 30 seconds. Turn out onto a board, and knead until your marzipan is smooth. Set aside.
- By now, the hazelnuts should be done, so place them into the food processor, and melt 25g cocoa butter. Process as before, and then add the rest of the ingredients (including the melted cocoa butter), and process for another 30 seconds or so, until everything is well-mixed. Turn out onto a board, and knead for 2-3 minutes, until smooth.
Make a Mozart bonbon!
- Pinch off a little piece of the pistachio marzipan, and roll into a ball. Take a slightly larger piece of the chocolate nougat, roll into a ball, and flatten. Wrap this around the pistachio ball. Make a ball from an even larger piece of plain marzipan, flatten, and wrap this around the pistachio-nougat ball. Roll the whole thing around in your palms to ensure there are no seams, and the ball is smooth. (See the images within the body of the post.)
- Repeat until you've used up all the marzipan and nougat.
- Melt together the dark chocolate and 40g of cocoa butter. Once the chocolate has melted, using a cocktail stick, carefully spear a Mozartkugel, and then dip into the chocolate, making sure it's evenly coated. Allow the excess to drip off before placing the bonbon onto a sheet of parchment.
- Repeat for the rest of the bonbons, and set aside in a cool place for a couple of hours for the chocolate to harden.
- Remove the sticks, and enjoy at room temperature.
- Up to two months in a lidded container at room temperature.
- 1 cup = US cup = 240 ml
- 1 tablespoon = US/UK = 15 ml
- 1 fl oz = US = 30 ml