For the third day, the dish, Almond Dragees, is a bit complicated. This is strictly no for beginners. If you have worked with caramel and chocolate earlier, then you need to try this. These are given as return gifts in French weddings, baby showers and other festive occasions. Though these dragees look like some chocolate rocks and don’t look picture perfect, they are too delicious and you would surely finish off a whole bowl in one sitting. It is that good. Almonds are first coated with caramel and then triple coated with melted chocolate and finished off with a dusting of cocoa and icing sugar. I tasted two almonds from the batch and trust me, it was so hard not to go back.
When I was looking for recipes, I came across two types of preparations. The first one is making the caramel and then adding roasted almonds to coat. It is a bit technical and if you over cook the caramel, they won’t coat the almonds properly. The second one was easier in which both raw almonds and sugar syrup are cooked together until it reaches the caramel stage and coats the nuts uniformly. As you can guess, I went for the second method because it was fuss free.
There are some points you need to keep in mind while trying the recipe. The almonds should be raw. While cooking in the syrup, it gets roasted, so if you use roasted almonds, they will turn out burnt. So use raw almonds. The syrup goes through so many stages before becoming caramel. First it will be thin, then it will become thicker and at this stage you will find it hard to stir. And then the sugar becomes powdery, like powdered sugar and the stirring becomes even harder. Then the powder will start melting and will change colour. Once all the powder sugar gets caramelized, remove the almonds from the stove. If you keep on cooking, it will burn fast. You need to keep an eye on the almonds the entire time they are in the syrup. So don’t leave the stove unattended. The final coating can be done with just icing sugar or a mixture of icing sugar and cocoa powder. Choose what you like the best.
Almonds – 1 cup
Sugar – 1/2 cup
Water – 1/4 cup
Butter – 2 tbs
Dark / Milk Chocolate – 150 gm
Cocoa Powder – 1/4 cup
Icing Sugar – 1/4 cup
In a sauce pan mix together water and sugar.
Bring it to boil.
Add the almonds and cook on medium low flame.
First the syrup thickens.
Then it becomes powdery, but keep on stirring.
Then the powder starts to melt and caramelize.
The sugar will coat the almond uniformly and would be dark brown.
At this stage add butter and stir well to combine.
In a tray apply some butter and keep it ready.
Transfer the caramelized almonds to the tray and with a help of spoon, separate them as individual kernels.
Allow them to cool completely.
Transfer to a bowl and refrigerate for an hour.
Melt chocolate and keep it ready.
Remove the almonds from the fridge and add 1/3rd of melted chocolate.
Mix to coat them. Refrigerate until the chocolate becomes hard.
Now remove it from the fridge and add another 1/3rd of melted chocolate.
Again refrigerate until chocolate sets.
Now add the final portion of chocolate and mix well. Again refrigerate until set.
Remove the bowl from fridge and break the almonds apart. You don’t want clusters.
In another bowl sift together cocoa powder and icing sugar.
Add the almonds to the bowl and mix them gently so that all the almons are coated uniformly.
Transfer the almonds to a serving bowl and serve, or keep them in an airtight box and refrigerate.