Appears in

Chocolates and Confections

By Peter Greweling

Published 2007

  • About

The dragée method is the handwork predecessor to panning. The French word dragée means “dredged.” Here the centers are dredged first in caramel and then in chocolate. Rather than relying on mechanical rotation of pans to distribute the coatings, the coatings are applied by vigorous stirring in bowls. The precoat is a thin layer of caramel, which provides flavor and inhibits fat migration. The caramel is applied by cooking a sugar solution to the thread stage, then adding the untoasted nuts to the syrup. With vigorous stirring the syrup crystallizes, leaving a thin coating of crystals on the nuts. Once the sugar is crystallized, the nuts are returned to the heat and stirred constantly as the sugar caramelizes and the nuts toast. When each nut is coated with a thin varnish of shiny, smooth caramel, a small amount of butter is added and the nuts are poured onto oiled marble and separated by hand to cool. Tempered chocolate is applied to the nuts in stages, and stirred vigorously in a bowl. After the final coat of chocolate, a light dusting of cocoa powder and/or confectioners’ sugar is used as a finish, as it is not practical to burnish dragées to the high shine that can be obtained from mechanical panning.