Almond Dragees

Almond Dragees are crunchy, toasted candied almonds cooked in caramel, dipped in chocolate, and dusted with cocoa powder.  They’re perfect for gift giving, parties, or just plain munching.

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Do you see these innocent little cocoa dusted almonds?  They don’t really look like much…they’re lumpy and bumpy, and in my opinion, they just look downright strange.  The thing is, after one of these caramel coated, chocolate dipped, cocoa dusted almonds,  you’re going to forget all about how they look.  Let’s suffice it to say that you just won’t be able to stop eating them, because the first time I tried them, they instantly became one of my biggest weaknesses. 🙂

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We made these Almond Dragees for our cooking school Christmas party, and that was the first time I’d ever tried them.  Some were dusted in powdered sugar, and some with cocoa.  I was lucky enough to get to take some home, and I loved them more than the fruit gelees, almond raspberry cupcakes, nougats, etc.  I hoarded these all to myself, and I almost did that with this batch too.  I finally decided that I needed to share them as they were becoming problematic…meaning I was eating WAY too many…and it wasn’t pretty.

Now, these are really easy to make, but I have to warn you NOT to an upper body workout the day you make these, because you need to stir these like nobody’s business and you need all the strength you can get. 😉  Really though, there is some elbow grease required, but the payoff are these crunchy, toasty, chocolatey almonds, and believe me, having these around is one great payoff.  They’re great to give as gifts, serve at parties, or munch all on your own.  Either way, you’ve just got to try these.  Once you do, there will be no going back. Consider yourself duly warned. 🙂

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Almond Dragees
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Almond Dragees are crunchy, toasted candied almonds cooked in caramel, dipped in chocolate, and dusted with cocoa powder. They're perfect for gift giving, parties, or just plain munching.
Serves: About 2 cups
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup water
  • 1¾ cups whole raw almonds
  • 12 ounces good quality chocolate, such as Guittard
  • 1 cup sifted unsweetened cocoa powder or powdered sugar, for dusting
  1. Line a rimmed baking sheet with a silicone mat or parchment paper.*
  2. In a medium pan, stir the sugar with the water over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved, and bring to a boil. Add the almonds, and cook over high heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. During this process, you're crystallizing the sugar and toasting the almonds. Continue cooking until all of the water evaporates and the sugar becomes very sandy. Reduce the heat to medium, and continue to stir until the crystallized sugar begins to melt and caramelize. As the sugar melts, it will begin to coat the almonds. When the nuts are caramelized, immediately pour out onto the prepared pan. Separate the nuts with forks as much as possible into a single layer and cool. Once the nuts are cool, place in the freezer.
  3. Place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl over simmering water and melt until smooth. Remove the almonds from the freezer and break up any nuts that are stuck together. Place the almonds in a bowl and pour ⅓ of the melted chocolate over the nuts and stir immediately. Repeat in two more additions, allowing each addition of chocolate to firm individually on the almonds and break up any clusters before adding more. The almonds will appear dry and chalky at this point. Sift the cocoa powder or powdered sugar over the almonds and stir to coat completely. If you're using powdered sugar, make sure the almonds are in a clean bowl before dusting. Store in an airtight container at room temperature. Enjoy!
* I highly recommend using a Silpat silicone mat for the caramelized almonds, as it's the easiest way to prevent sticking. Silpats are great for any candy or caramel making!

Recipe adapted from Rachel Lesing via Tante Marie Cooking School, San Francisco, CA..