Marzipan candy descends from a centuries' old tradition, the combination of almonds and sugar. The resulting 'dough' is quite pliable, and confectioners use this attribute to create whimsical figures before toasting them in an oven. The result is these marzipan 'figuritas.'
At the battle of Navas de Tolosa in the year 1212, it is said that the nuns of the San Clemente convent took care of the wounded soldiers. According to tradition, they ground up their stores of almonds in mortars and pestles, and then kneaded them together with sugar to create emergency rations. This type of bread (pan) produced with a pestle (maza) is supposed to have given rise to the name mazapán in Spanish - marzipan in English.