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French Calissons

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Prep Time: 30 mins    Cook Time: 5 mins

5 from 3 votes

These delicate French calissons are delicious. Shaped like almonds, they are fruity, nutty-tasting candies and have a texture similar to marzipan. You only need 6 ingredients to make bakery-quality calissons!

Close up of two French calissons on a table.
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Bite into one of these soft yet firm candies and you will be able to taste melon and orange along with almonds. The royal icing on top breaks apart when you gently bite into one and then the sweet, rich fruity marzipan underneath bursts with flavor on the tongue. These candies are delicate and delicious.

These are great for the holidays because they make cute treats or even gifts. They aren’t cheap from the bakery, but once you know how to prepare these yourself you will want to make them every year.

I also enjoy making my own butterscotch candy and peanut butter fudge at least once a year too. They are great sweets to snack on throughout the day!

Main Ingredients

These tempting treats hail from Aix-en-Provence, in France, where they were made by monks in 12th-century monasteries. To make them, you are going to need the following key ingredients:

  • Pruned almonds: These give a marzipan-like taste. You can use regular whole almonds to make French calissons. Choose the blanched kind without their skins. You won’t find anything in the store labeled as "pruned almonds" because it’s a direct translation from the French "amandes emondees" which basically just means almonds without their skins! That’s your French lesson for today.
  • Candied melon: For fruitiness. This ingredient is often used in Christmas cakes in Italy, but it’s also one of the star ingredients in French calissons. You could swap these for another type of candied fruit for a less authentic, but still tasty, result.
  • Orange peel: Gives a citrusy, festive taste. Orange peel, or orange zest, pairs wonderfully with the melon flavor along with the almonds, to give these little treats an unmistakably festive flavor.
  • Confectioners' sugar: To add sweetness to the French calissons. This ingredient is also known as powdered sugar or icing sugar. These are just different terms for the same kind of sugar.

Instructions Overview

French calissons might look tricky to make but they’re much easier than you’d think! Soak the almonds in boiling water and then keep both the almonds and the water. Puree the almonds with the melon and orange in a blender.

Next, add the water you soaked the nuts in and mix until you get a dough. Let it cool down. Mix the sugar and egg whites together. Make a rectangle of dough (when it’s cool enough to handle) on a baking sheet and top with the egg mixture.

Let it sit for an hour then bake for 5 minutes.

Close up of two French calissons on a table.

Common Questions

What do calissons taste like?

French calissons combine the unmistakable flavor of marzipan with citrus from the orange and sweetness from the melon. They taste heavenly!

How long do calissons last?

Wrapped loosely in wax paper and kept in an airtight container, they will last about a week, but taste better when freshly made.

How do you pronounce calissons?

To sound French (ooh la la!) you should know the correct pronunciation is kah-lee-SONS.

What is candied melon?

Melon is cooked in syrup until it becomes transparent. The syrup replaces the water content of the melon. Candied fruit is a popular addition to festive cakes and cookies and a key ingredient in French calissons.

What is the difference between royal icing and regular icing?

Royal icing is made with egg whites and confectioner’s sugar and sets to a firm candy-like finish. Regular icing is soft and creamy. Royal icing is used to decorate wedding cakes, Christmas cakes, and gingerbread houses, to name a few. It can be applied as a smooth covering (such as in this recipe) or shaped into peaks, depending on what you’re making.

Chopnotch Tips

  • You can buy calisson pans online if you want to make these often. Otherwise, just make a rectangular shape and cut it into pieces. Or make them in any shape you prefer! An almond-shaped cookie cutter is another good idea to get uniform shapes and sizes.
  • It’s important to let the dough reach room temperature before proceeding with the recipe, otherwise, it will be too loose and partially melt the royal icing on top. If that happens your calissons will look a mess!
  • Save money by making these yourself, since they cost upwards of $1.00 apiece from the bakery or store if you can even find them that is. Plus, homemade candies always taste way better!

French calissons are gaining popularity all over the world because there is nothing else quite like them! These candies aren’t hard to make and they boast fruity flavors in every bite.

Let us know what you think! Give this recipe a rating in the comments section below.

Recipe

How to Make

French Calissons

These small marzipan-like candies made with zesty orange, sweet melon and almonds make great festive snacks or gifts.
SCALE THIS RECIPE
Prep Time: 30 mins
Cook Time: 5 mins
Total Time: 35 mins
Servings: 20 candies

Ingredients

  • ½ cup almonds, skinless
  • 10 ounces water
  • 3 ounces candied melon
  • 3 egg whites
  • 1 tablespoon orange peel
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
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Instructions

  • Boil water. Soak skinless almonds in boiling water for 5 minutes. Drain and preserve water.
  • Add melon, orange peel, and almonds to a blender. Process until combined.
  • Add water from the skinless almonds to the almond mixture and mix until the dough is formed. Let cool to room temperature.
  • Beat egg whites and sugar in a bowl until smooth.
  • Spread the dough on a baking tray to form a rectangle, top with egg-sugar mixture and let rest for an hour.
  • Preheat oven to 300°F and bake for 5 minutes. Let cool and cut into pieces.
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Notes

  • You can buy calisson pans online if you want to make these often. Otherwise, just make a rectangular shape and cut it into pieces. Or make them in any shape you prefer! An almond-shaped cookie cutter is another good idea to get uniform shapes and sizes.
  • It’s important to let the dough reach room temperature before proceeding with the recipe, otherwise, it will be too loose and partially melt the royal icing on top. If that happens your calissons will look a mess!
  • Save money by making these yourself, since they cost upwards of $1.00 apiece from the bakery or store if you can even find them that is. Plus, homemade candies always taste way better!

Nutrition Facts

Calories: 24kcal (1%), Carbohydrates: 7g (2%), Protein: 1g (2%), Fat: 2g (3%), Saturated Fat: 1g (6%), Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 1g, Trans Fat: 1g, Sodium: 9mg, Potassium: 40mg (1%), Fiber: 1g (4%), Sugar: 1g (1%), Vitamin A: 145IU (3%), Vitamin C: 1mg (1%), Calcium: 11mg (1%), Iron: 1mg (6%)
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course:
Dessert
cuisine:
French

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