Italian Almond pasteDunk,
can't say anything about German Marzipan, but Italian style almond paste and marzipan are very, very easy to make! I'm not a professional baker, but when I need some almond paste I always make it at home and the result is almost as good as the commercially available products.
The only real difference is that the homemade almond paste ends up a little greyish and not as white as the professional products, but it's due to the fact that they use a special machine called "sbiancatrice". In any case, this is not a great problem as you're usually supposed to color it or add to other ingredients...
Briefly, these are the recipes:
Each 20 oz almonds (shelled and peeled):
-10 oz sugar
-1 fresh egg white, or less
-Blend the almonds and sugar in a food processor to a smooth paste, with many few seconds shots (be careful to avoid heating the mixture, or the almonds will throw out their oil)
-Work the mixture by hands like a dough, gradually adding some egg white until it's very smooth. With some experience, you'll understand when stopping adding the egg white (I usually add less than 1 egg).
Each 20 oz almond paste,
from 15 to 20 oz icing sugar, according to your taste, and some more egg white if required
-Gradually add the icing sugar to the almond paste, working by hands until very smooth. Add some drops of your favourite food color (pink, pale blue and green are the most traditional)
Both almond paste and marzipan last for a couple of weeks if sealed in plastic film and refrigerated.
I usually make sweets with marzipan making small balls (about the same size of a quail egg), sticking to them walnut kernels or pieces of dried figs or dates and coating half of the sweets with melted semi-sweet chocolate. If you put the nuts or dried fruits inside, you can make small egg-shaped sweets that can be very nice as Easter presents.
When I have time and are in an artistic mood, I also have a lot of fun making the "Martorana fruits" (typical Sicilian marzipan fruits) or decorative sheets for the Cassata alla Siciliana.
Considering the high price of the commercial marzipan, I suggest you to try making it at home...you'll be surprised by the results!:)