Croquant aux Amandes ~ Almond Crisps from Lyon


One year ago almost to the day my daughter and I were in Provence on vacation. It seems like a dream now as I look back on it and if I didn’t have hundreds of pictures to remind me where we were I could easily think I dreamed a good part of the experience.  One of our favorite stops on our river cruise was the beautiful city of Lyon, considered to be the gastronomic capital of France and the cuisine capital of the world. The city has over 2,000 restaurants of which 13 have been awarded Michelin Stars. Almost every street has patisseries and boulangeries that display the most wonderful and appetizing creations you could imagine.  We giddily ran from one to the  next with our noses pasted to the display windows and we wanted to try everything we saw. 


 One of the first windows that caught our eye had displays of various pastries made with something that gave everything a bright red-rose color. We were told that “Les Pralines Rouge” was an area specialty…almonds covered in a red vanilla flavored caramelized coating…and many local pastries and chocolates were made with them.  They were used in everything.  There wasn’t a display window in any shop that didn’t have a variety of  bright red baked goods.  The pictures aren’t the best because I took them through glass, but at least you can get the idea of the displays.


 When I travel I like to buy local specialty ingredients so I can attempt to duplicate recipes when I get back to my own kitchen.   No luck with Les Pralines Rouge in Lyon, but when we got to Paris and went to G. DETOU I found them there.  If you are looking for any specialty food items in Paris G. Detou is a place you must visit.  I read about the little shop on David Lebovitz’s blog and it is a great find, a place I probably never would have found on my own. In his words. “If G. Detou didn’t exist, I couldn’t live in Paris.”PicMonkey Collage


We bought several almond items at  patisseries to take back to the ship  to try to analyze what they were made of.  We loved the above pastry that was half way between biscotti and a chewy cake.  It wasn’t until I recently looked back in my photo album at pictures of the store window that I  had the name for this creation…croquant… so I could try to find a recipe on the internet.


Above is my first version of croquant…it turned out pretty darn tasty if I do say so myself.  Not as cakey as the purchased one, but the flavor is great and I’m off to a good start.  This is similar to biscotti and I like the recipe much better than biscotti recipes I’ve used in the past…better texture and more flavor.  I’m almost out of the beautiful red-rose almonds but plain would work just fine, as would  cinnamon glazed gebrannte mandeln…sugared almonds…that I make at holiday time.

PicMonkey Collage

The dough is very soft so flour hands well before trying to shape it. Form dough into two logs and brush the tops with a lightly whisked egg white.  Allow lots of room on the baking sheet because the dough spreads a little bit and rises.  Bake the first time at 400 degrees F for 20 minutes.  Reduce the oven temperature to 250 degrees F. Carefully move the partially baked logs of dough to a cutting board and slice into 1-inch slices.  Reassemble on the baking sheet, leaving a good inch to inch and a half between slices.  Bake the dough a second time at the reduced temperature for 30 minutes.

PicMonkey Collage 2

Sugar coated almonds are impossible to chop with a knife or cut up in a blender or food processor. There is a good chance the appliance will break before the nuts are even roughly chopped.  The best way to do it is to put the nuts in a sturdy zip-lock bag and whack them with a rolling pin or a cast iron skillet.  It will smash them into  good sized  pieces for baking.


Do you see the stacks of sandwiches on the top shelf?  What I wouldn’t give for one at this moment.  The baguettes the sandwiches are made with are light as a feather.  And there are nine different pizzas to choose from, all freshly baked…sigh.


As if the patisseries aren’t enough, this shop is devoted exclusively to NOUGAT!

 Adapted from a recipe found at DU MIEL ET DU SEL

Croquant aux Amandes ~ Almond Crisps from Lyon
  • 200 g flour
  • 50 g ground almonds or almond flour
  • 5 g baking powder
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 50 g soft butter
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 drop of essential bitter almond oil, optional
  • 250 g sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 75 g whole almonds with skins, crushed in a plastic bag
  • 75 g hazelnuts, very lightly chopped
  • 1 egg white, lightly whisked, to brush on the unbaked dough
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Combine flour, almond flour, baking powder and salt. Mix with a fork and set aside.
  3. Combine butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer and beat with the paddle attachment until light. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add flour mixture and combine well.
  4. Mix the almonds and hazelnuts into the dough by hand.
  5. Divide the dough into two pieces and form into two log shapes on a baking sheet lined with silpat or parchment paper. The dough is very sticky so flour your hands well.
  6. Bake at 400 degrees F. for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and lower oven temperature to 250 degrees F.
  7. Very carefully move the partially baked pastry logs to a cutting surface and slice into 1 to 1-1/2-inch slices. Reassemble on the baking sheet, leaving about a 1-1/2-inch space between slices.
  8. Return to oven and bake another 30 minutes at 250 degrees F.
  9. Cool and store in an airtight container. They keep well.
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  1. Sam @ My Carolina Kitchen says

    Ah, Provence. I wish I was there too. These almond crisps could quickly become my favorite too. Thanks for the tip of hard to find French items. I’m not familiar with Les Pralines Rouge, but how gorgeous are they! The tip with the rolling pin sounds like a good idea. I would have probably damaged my Cuisinart and who wants that.
    Sam @ My Carolina Kitchen recently posted..Wild DogwoodsMy Profile

  2. Penny says

    You are making me long for France Cathy. What a beautiful dessert. I would love to find some praline rouge. Wonder if they can be ordered? Lovely post.
    Penny recently posted..Polynesian MeatballsMy Profile

  3. Larry says

    Hi Cathy – My email may not have gotten through – could you send me your address so I can get your book off to you. Thanks. Larry
    Larry recently posted..Steaks & Chops From The FreezerMy Profile

  4. Madonna/aka/Ms. Lemon says

    I pinned these even before I finished reading your post. Can’t wait to try these.
    Madonna/aka/Ms. Lemon recently posted..VisitandinesMy Profile

  5. Monique says

    I am so happy you shared this lovely those rose colored almonds..and the name “Croquants “of course..
    When those cruises are advertised..all about food and wine and sightseeing..

    well it just seems like a whole fabulous world.
    Always love your trip pics..!
    Monique recently posted..Un cadeau pour moi~I am again early with this post~My Profile

  6. Susan says

    What a delicious memory! The croquants remind me of biscotti. The beautiful red almonds are such a lovely addition to a delicious treat.
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  7. cheri says

    Hi Cathy, these look so wonderful, sounds like you and your daughter had a wonderful trip, what great memories!
    cheri recently posted..Mexican Chopped Salad with Honey-Lime DressingMy Profile

  8. Kate says

    I have not heard of Les Pralines Rouge….but I know I would love them as I adore anything with almonds! I could quickly become a fan of all of the patisseries! I had not heard of G. Detou but you can bet that I will visit on my next trip to Paris! I now know why you take an extra suitcase!
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  9. Foodiewife says

    Oh, how I hope that one day I will be able to visit France. I’ve bee to Macchu Piccu, all over Bavaria and Austria. I’ve shivered in Iceland and been on over a dozen cruises. But, Paris eludes me. Someday… you really made me wistful and lustful, because anything with almonds rocks my world!
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  10. Marie says

    I learned something new, I never heard of Les Pralines Rouge either but I would be drawn to it through those wonderful windows filled with beautiful looking pastry! Wow!
    Marie recently posted..Chicken Nicoise SaladMy Profile

  11. ciaochowlinda says

    I didn’t know Lyons was famous for those candy coated almonds. I seem to recall finding them in places here in the U.S., but I’m racking my brain trying to remember where. I wonder if you could get them via internet somewhere. In any case, I’ll be on the hunt because I want to try to make these cookies. better than biscotti? I’m all in.
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  12. ciaochowlinda says

    I found a link on making them. Here it is:
    ciaochowlinda recently posted..Ricotta Broccoli Rape TortaMy Profile

  13. Karen (Back Road Journal) says

    There just isn’t anything like the food shops in Europe in our country. Yes, we may have one or two in a city but not one after the other like in the streets of France and other countries. I think your cookies look fantastic.
    Karen (Back Road Journal) recently posted..A New England BathroomMy Profile

  14. Monique says


    Not sure if you get the Anthony Bourdain show.. Parts Unknown..

    Jacques PVR’d Lyon..

    Daniel Boulud….

    I thought of you..
    So far the episode we have liked the most!
    Monique recently posted..Un cadeau pour moi~I am again early with this post~My Profile

  15. Happier Than A Pig In Mud says

    Oh, your cookies look great Cathy! Especially as I sit here with a nice strong cup of coffee-enjoy:@)

  16. Kitty says

    Ooh Cathy, these look so good! I’ll bet it was fun to reminisce about your trip with your daughter and to come up with this recipe. I’ve realized that I don’t receive your posts emailed to me any more. It’s so frustrating and I don’t know how to resolve the issue.
    Thanks for all your beautiful food and your inspiration.
    Kitty recently posted..Chicken and OrzoMy Profile

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