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Dragee Favors

Martha Stewart Weddings, Winter 2004

Sugar-coated almonds have been offered as wedding favors around the world for centuries. At Italian weddings long ago, guests often tried to remove ribbons from the bride's ensemble for luck. To deter them, families gave out quintets of dragees tied up in tulle as favors, signifying the five qualities of marriage: health, wealth, long life, happiness, and fertility.

These days, dragees aren't limited to simple candy-covered almonds. They also come with assorted fillings, such as chocolate, mint, and pistachio, and in assorted colors. Here, we have transformed their customary wrappings from the traditional rounds to packaging that is both elegant and whimsical.

1. Sugar-coated French almonds are showcased in modern pastel colors. 2. Blue hues bring vibrancy to chocolate-filled candies. 3. A foil cover protects a chocolate center. 4. Tiny mints awaken the senses. 5. The pistachio inside is a surprising treat. 6. White candy-covered almonds are wedding classics.


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Sewn, Stamped, and Tied
Guests can't resist tearing into these charming parcels. Left, clockwise from top: Put dragees into 3 3/4-by-5-inch clear plastic bag; cut 5-inch square decorative paper; fold in half, and scallop ends; slip onto bag top, sew closed, and trim sides. Cut two 4-inch strips organdy paper and one 4-inch strip netting; sew together; add almonds; roll, tie ends with twine; wrap with calligraphed vellum band; tape in back.

Print wedding date and icon on 8 1/2-by-11-inch sheet of vellum -- each sheet fits two; cut apart, fold each in half, and sew on three sides; cut off fold, insert dragees, and sew closed. Stack one 5 1/2-by-6 1/2-inch sheet each cellophane and decorative paper; sew three sides, add dragees, and sew closed; scallop edges. Tie on 26-inch ribbon; trim excess, and glue to secure.

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Paper Cones
These whimsical dragee cones standing in a galvanized tray will delight even adults. To assemble, cut a 2-inch-thick Styrofoam sheet to fit tray; affix with floral clay. Insert two wooden skewers for each cone in foam. For cone, cut sheet of card stock into 6 1/2-inch square; roll it into a cone, leaving small hole in bottom, and adhere with craft glue (hold until glue sets).

Adorn with 8 1/2-inch paper ribbon held by a monogrammed sticker. Slide cones onto skewers; fill with dragees. Cover foam with sugared almonds in varying shades. A paper banner tells guests to take a cone. One 13-by-30-inch tray holds about 60 favors.

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Pretty Packages
At traditional Greek weddings, dragees (or koufeta, as the Greeks call them) are handed out in odd-numbered amounts. The indivisibility of the numbers shows the newlyweds will be partners for life. For a chic sweet, fill 3 1/2-inch boxes with an odd number of different dragees.

For the lining, photocopy the template above at 250 percent, and cut a sheet of vellum to the same size. Lay the vellum over template, and crease at dotted lines with bone folder. Fold inward at a, b, d, e, g, and h, then outward at c and f. Insert vellum in box; add dragees. Fold flaps over top of candies, and close box. Tie with coordinating raffia ribbon. To finish, adorn the ribbon with a decorative clasp.

Template

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Winged Pouches
Paper birds keep watch over colorful chocolates. To create, use scissors to carefully cut tulle, which comes by the yard, into 8-inch squares. Deposit several dragees onto each one. Gather up the tulle around the candy, and secure each pouch with twine. Place a die-cut bird on top, knotting the twine around the bird's leg to anchor it. Set the pouches out on trays for guests to take home.

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Flavorful Tree
Ready to be plucked from the branches of a quince "tree," dragees grouped in glassine bags are a delectable snack. Keep branches in water; arrange additional favors alongside.

How to Make a Glassine Favor
We used waxed-paper bags in three different shapes and sizes: 3 1/4 by 4 1/4 inches, 9 1/2 by 1 3/4 inches, and 6 by 6 cm. Fill each bag with dragees; fold top of bag over a 20-inch piece of twine, and secure fold with a decorative sticker; tie a knot in the ends of the twine. Hang the bags on sturdy quince branches so guests can easily pick them.