Wednesday, September 3, 2008
There are literally hundreds of makers of candied almonds, also known as confetti or dragees, around the world. But the candy is pretty much the same everywhere, a single almond coated with a hard sugar shell. Some are colored and tumbled to a bright sheen, still others have a soft and smooth matte surface.
The process is rather simple though time consuming. Nuts are tumbled in a large rotating drum as sugar syrup is slowly added and allowed to dry, then added again until a thick shell is built up.
Sconza started in 1939 in the Bay Area and has been making distinctive panned candies since 1948. The company is expanding rapidly now, poised to take over the former Hershey’s Chocolate facility in Oakdale California later this year.
I was eyeing some of their Jordanettes a while back, but figured they were just Jordan Almonds and everyone pretty much knows what they are. Well, they just came out with their fall version and I simply couldn’t resist. Even though they came in a two pound bag.
The colors and matte shell was just so festive - it says harvest but it wasn’t all dark colors. Instead they’re pretty muted pastels in peach, yellow, green and terra cotta.
They looked pretty big too, but as is often the case with candy coated almonds, I didn’t know if it was that the almonds were big or that the candy shell was thick.
As is often the case with Jordan Almonds, I never know how thick the shell will be and sometimes I secretly suspect that there won’t even be a nut at the center - that it might be a rock.
Happily every single one I’ve eaten so far has had a fresh almond in the middle.
The bag smelled like vanilla pudding. Soft and sweet with just a hint of vanilla (fake vanilla actually).
The dragees are soft and smooth and after in the mouth for a moment they’re pleasantly slippery and fun to chase around with my tongue.
There’s not much flavor, just sugar-sweetness.
After a while I usually crunch. I find the best way to crush the shell is to put the candy between my rear molars and gently bite down on one of flatter sides. If it doesn’t yield, I try do dissolve a bit more and try again.
Jordan Almonds aren’t like M&Ms, unless you have some sort of super-strong teeth and fearless disposition, there’s no popping them in your mouth and chewing. Of course I never see them served that way and I honestly never see people simply eating them. (I know they’re a popular wedding favor, but I never recall getting any at a wedding either.)
The almond on the inside is soft and not as sweet as the sugar-shell, but still pretty sweet (not a crisp toasted almond either, they appear to be raw or merely blanched). These had only a hint of almond flavor. Mostly the whole thing was fresh-tasting.
I can’t say that I’d just buy Jordanettes again for munching, but I do foresee finishing the bag ... and when I say finishing, I mean I’ve already eaten a half a pound. These are certainly a good deal, high quality and beautiful to look at.
Friday, October 26, 2007
Sconza introduced Dark Chocolate Toffee Almonds featuring “70% cacao international blend chocolate” at the All Candy Expo last month. I was really looking forward to them, as I think Sconza makes great panned candies, especially nuts.
Sconza is based in Oakland, California, one of the best confectionary areas in the country. Sconza has an interesting product line that includes such wonderful items like Jordanettes (Jordan Almonds), incredible toffee coated nuts and even a line of impossibly-large-to-eat jawbreakers.
This new chocolate covered almond capitalizes on one of those things they do so well, toffeed nuts.
Each generously sized almond is covered in a crunchy and thin coating of butter toffee. It’s salty and crispy and provides a satisfying crunch when biting through the thick coating of very dark chocolate.
The chocolate is strong, with dark fruity overtones and some coffee notes. The almonds are fresh and crunchy and provide a mellow counterbalance to the salty toffee and rich chocolate.
I love these. They’re only vaguely sweet, so I don’t feel sick after eating a handful. At the same time only one or two are extremely satisfying. They’re beautiful to look at smell positively divine.
I haven’t seen these in stores yet, but I’ve found other Sconza toffee and nut items at places like Bristol Farms (a high end grocer). I don’t know what the retail price is, but I think $4.00 for a bag would be such a deal.
Meticulously photographed and documented reviews of candy from around the world. And the occasional other sweet adventures. Open your mouth, expand your mind.