Christmas Marzipan Bites

Merry Christmas!!!
I bet all of you are already busy in the kitchen, cooking like there's no tomorrow, ovens on fire and counting the minutes to finally sit and enjoy your Christmas meals with the family and loved ones. I still have to finish a few things for tonight's Xmas Eve dinner (appetizers and small bites) but today's desserts are (obviously I had to prepare desserts first, blame it on my sweet tooth) ready to be devoured by my loved ones and yorurs truly, of course! 
I couldn't wait to show you another one of this year's festive recipes: marzipan bites. Really easy to make and also quite a versatile recipe cause you can make your own version of this festive and traditionally christmassy sweet treats. Add different extracts to make different flavors, or give them a modern twist with a fine coat of chocolate and they'll like cute store-bought chocolates. You can also pack them using some nice gift box and bring them to some of the Christmas parties you are attending, the hosts will love you! ;-)
These marzipans, like I've said before, are very traditional in Spain. We eat them during the holidays, especially on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. It's a classic recipe that never gets old, their size makes them the perfect treat after an endless festive meal.

Receta en español aquí!

Christmas Marzipan Bites

(makes 25-30)
a scant cup of sugar.
1/2 small glass of anisette.
1 glass of water.
3 1/3 cups almond meal.
lemon zest.
1 egg yolk, beaten (to decorate).

In a large mixing bowl mix together almond meal and lemon zest.
At this point we should start making the syrup: put the water and anisette in a medium saucepan over heat and bring to boil. Add in the sugar stirring constantly until it dissolves completely, around 5 minutes. When the syrup is ready and has the proper density it's time to add it to the previous almond/lemon mixture.

-How can we tell if the syrup is ready? If we take a small amount of syrup and press it between our fingers it should feel sticky and when we separate them a fine thread will form between each finger.

Combine well syrup and almond meal until we get a smooth marzipan ball.
Wrap it in plastic wrap and let it sit in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Once the paste is ready we can start making small balls or decorative figures.
Place the marzipan bites in a prepared baking sheet and brush the tops with egg yolk (beaten), but only a small part of the top, just to give them a nice golden/brown color.
Bake for 3-5 minutes, at 392ºF (200ºC), (top heat) until golden.
If you want to boost the anisette flavor brush the marzipans with a bit more liqueur right after removing them from the oven, when they are still hot.
Let them cool before serving.