A decorative confectionery made from sugar that is often added to cakes, cookies and other baked goods. Made in many different shapes but typically very small in size, a Dragee may be made as colorful pieces or chips of candy, they may be nuts that are roasted or sugar coated and colored, or they may be round metallic-finished balls. In earlier times, a Dragée referred to any small bits or pieces of colorful paper that were used to celebrate joyous occassions such as weddings, birthdays, anniversaries, or holidays. As an example, confetti is considered to be a Dragée as are small colorful confections known as nonpariels
, which are used as decorative toppings for cookies and sweets baked for celebrations. Small pieces of candy such as M&M's, enclosed in a hard sugar shell are typically considered to be a type of Dragée. The bits or pieces of candy are commonly added to decorate a variety of different baked goods. Similarly, whole or sliced almonds can be prepared to have a glaze or colorful coating for use as a decorative Dragée.
The round metallic balls which may also be referred to as a French Dragees, were initally banned from being sold in some countries because they were believed to contain metal substances or mercury which enabled the Dragée to be produced with a highly glossy surface. Therefore, the metallic Dragées were banned as a food item by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. After being reclassified and produced using procedures to assure no mercury was used in production, the Dragées were allowed to be sold in the U.S. However, they are now packaged with the statement FOR DECORATION ONLY clearly printed on the label. The metallic colored balls of sugar are commonly available in silver, gold and copper finishes and are made in various sizes with a number indicating the size, such as #4, which is a 3/16 inch diamater round ball.