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Sparkling Chocolate Mendiants or Giant Buttons

Sparkling Chocolate Mendiants

Chocolates, Gifts | 18th December 2011 | By

Chocolate gifts for Christmas are always welcome. These sparkling chocolate mendiants are easy to make and impressive. Make them with the recipients favourite chocolate or mix and match as I’ve done in this recipe.

Chocolate is a must for festive gifts as far as I’m concerned. Last year I made ginger chocolates and candied orange sticks, but what to do this year? A while ago, Susan of A little bit of Heaven on a Plate very kindly sent me a couple of pots of edible gold dust and I was itching to use them.

What Are Chocolate Mendiants?

Chocolate mendiants are a French Christmas speciality. Really they’re just giant chocolate buttons, but are studded with dried fruit and nuts to make them a bit more special. Traditionally, the mendiants are studded with four ingredients to represent different mendicant religious orders. It’s a fig for Franciscans, a raisin for Augustinians, a hazelnut for Carmelites and an almond for Dominicans. Mendiant means begger in French. These chocolate discs are so named as mendicant monks used to rely on alms to survive. It’s all very interesting.

Sparkling Chocolate Mendiants

As soon as I saw a recipe for white chocolate mendiants in Eric Lanlard’s book Cox Cookies & Cake, I knew I would have to make a variation for this year’s Christmas hampers.

Although I set myself the task to learn chocolate tempering this year, I haven’t actually managed it. I thus continue to hesitate when it comes to chocolate making. Although chocolate bloom doesn’t really change the taste of chocolate it most certainly makes it look unappealing. Luckily, these sparkling chocolate mendiants turned out perfectly.

Sparkling Chocolate Mendiants


They are a little time consuming to make, but not at all difficult. It’s very much worth the effort though.

These sparkling chocolate mendiants were a huge success. And although I made them well over a week ago now, they still look good and my worries about the chocolate blooming did not materialise.

Sparkling Chocolate Mendiants

Four bags of these sparkling chocolate mendiants have already disappeared into hampers and have now long departed this house.

Sparkling Chocolate Mendiants Top Tips

  • You’ll need to draw lots of circles on greaseproof paper. I found a plastic milk bottle top was the perfect size to use as a template.
  • You can use whatever dried fruits and nuts you like. I went for a mixture of shelled unsalted pistachios, dried cranberries, dried mango pieces (cut into small strips), dried physalis, blanched almonds split in half and strips of homemade candied citrus peel.
  • It’s best to temper the chocolate if you can. A simple method is to put aside about a quarter of the chocolate you’re going to use. Place the rest in a bowl suspended over a pan of hot, but not boiling water. Allow the chocolate to melt, it may take a while. As soon as it’s melted, remove the pan from the heat and add the reserved chocolate. Allow to melt, stir and use.
  • Start with the white chocolate. You can then use the same bowl to melt the milk chocolate in with no need to wash it up. Use the same bowl to then melt the dark chocolate in.
  • As soon as you’ve spooned the tempered chocolate into the circles, then add the fruit and nuts. You need to work quickly so that the chocolate doesn’t set before you do this or they won’t stick.
  • Use a small paint brush to pick up the edible glitter. Then just tap it gently over the tops to dust.
  • Ensure that the mendiants have set properly before removing from the paper and then packaging.

Other Homemade Chocolates You Might Like

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Thanks for visiting Tin and Thyme. If you make these chocolate mendiants, I’d love to hear about it in the comments below. Do share photos on social media too and use the hashtag #tinandthyme, so I can spot them.

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Sparkling Chocolate Mendiants. PIN IT.

Sparkling Chocolate Mendiants

Sparkling Chocolate Mendiants – The Recipe

Sparkling Chocolate Mendiants
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Sparkling Chocolate Mendiants

These traditional French giant chocolate buttons are studded with dried fruit and nuts. They're easy to prepare and make impressive gifts.
Prep Time2 hrs
Setting Time1 hr
Total Time3 hrs
Course: After Dinner, Snack
Cuisine: French
Keyword: almonds, chocolate, chocolates, dark chocolate, dried fruit, gifts, milk chocolate, pistachios, white chocolate
Servings: 90 mendiants


  • 150 g good quality white chocolate (I used cook's Chocolate by Trish)
  • 150 g good quality milk chocolate (I used cook's 38% Chocolate by Trish)
  • 150 g good quality dark chocolate (I used cook's 72% Green & Black's)
  • 50 g mixture of dried fruit (I used cranberries, mango pieces (cut into small strips), dried physalis and strips of homemade candied orange and lemon peel)
  • 50 g mixture of nuts (I used shelled unsalted pistachios and blanched almonds, split in half)
  • edible glitter for dusting


  • For each batch of chocolate, draw about 30 circles, a couple of centimetres apart, on a sheet of greaseproof paper using a pencil and plastic milk bottle top.
  • Turn the sheet over so you can see the circles but won't get pencil poisoning.
  • Place the dried fruit and nuts In separate bowls so you can keep track of what's what.
  • Melt the white chocolate slowly in a bowl suspended over a pan of hot but not quite boiling water.
  • Spoon teaspoonfuls of the chocolate into the circles spreading it out to fill the entire circle (I made 30).
  • Working fast place a cranberry, pistachio and a piece of mango or phsyalis on each chocolate circle before it sets.
  • Dust some glitter over the tops (I used Disco Gold). I find a small paint brush is useful for this.
  • Leave in a cool place to set for at least an hour, but not the fridge. Peel the mendiants off with a palette knife.
  • Melt all but 30g of the milk chocolate using the same method as above. As soon as the chocolate has melted, remove from the heat and add the reserved 30g. Leave to melt, then stir. This is known as the seeding method of tempering, but without a thermometer it can be a bit hit and miss. If you know how to temper chocolate, then use your preferred method.
  • Spoon the melted chocolate into the circles as before (I made 30).
  • Top with cranberries, mango pieces and almonds and leave to set.
  • Dust with glitter as before (I used Disco Gold).
  • Leave to set, as before.
  • Lastly, melt the dark chocolate using the same method as the milk chocolate (I made 32).
  • Top with pieces of candied orange or lemon peel.
  • Dust with glitter (I used Antique Gold).
  • Leave to set, as before.


For a quicker homemade gift, just make one or two of these batches of chocolate mendiants, rather than all three.


  1. Susan's blog

    18th December 2011 at 5:43 pm

    Having been a very lucky recipient of a bag of these I can confirm the gorgeousness contained within, they look great, and taste delicious. Love them! Thanks x

  2. The Caked Crusader

    18th December 2011 at 5:55 pm

    These look great – I love these sort of small, nibbly things at this time of year – there’s always room for a choccy, even if you can’t manage a slice of cake!!

  3. Chele

    18th December 2011 at 6:00 pm

    A lovely addition to a Christmas hamper, and they look even better than the store bought ones.

  4. Phil in the Kitchen

    18th December 2011 at 6:25 pm

    Very upmarket, I’d say. Lovely treats and great for presents.

  5. Baking Addict

    18th December 2011 at 7:21 pm

    What a brilliant idea! These look elegant and delicious. I love mini anything. Looks much better than my attempt at chocolate bark.

  6. hungryhinny

    18th December 2011 at 7:27 pm

    These look great, I don’t know why but I always think of mendiants as being very classy and a bit too grown up for me!

    I’m yet to master chocolate tempering, I have wasted hour faffing around with a chocolate thermometer to no avail – if you manage to crack the secret let me know!

  7. Foodycat

    18th December 2011 at 7:32 pm

    They look amazing! What a treat for the hamper recipients!

  8. Mariam Selge

    18th December 2011 at 7:58 pm

    They look pretty! I’m going to have to try making them too!

  9. Jo

    18th December 2011 at 8:00 pm

    These are so pretty, the sparkly dust definitely adds the finishing touch. A lovely gift idea.

  10. Janice

    18th December 2011 at 8:11 pm

    So pretty and delicious, perfect little presents.

  11. A Trifle Rushed

    18th December 2011 at 8:22 pm

    They are so gorgeous, they look so elegant, chic and very tasty.

  12. Karen S Booth

    18th December 2011 at 8:29 pm

    I love mendiants and yours look frivolous, festive, fun and fabulously tasty! I also ADORE that edible glitter and find myself dousing all cakes and bakes with it right now!

  13. MissCakeBaker

    18th December 2011 at 8:40 pm

    A lovely gift – they are very pretty.

  14. Gardenteacakesandme

    18th December 2011 at 9:14 pm

    These really do look delicious, and beautifully wrapped too

  15. cityhippyfarmgirl

    18th December 2011 at 10:09 pm

    Choc it really sounds like you have conquered tempering. If they haven’t bloomed in a week, surely that means it’s tempered 🙂
    Tempering still makes me nervous. I want to make some chocolatey things for Monkey Boy’s birthday but the bloom possibility still makes me nervous and I can’t bring myself to use compound chocolate.

    …and anything named disco gold as got to be a good thing!

  16. Laura@howtocookgoodfood

    18th December 2011 at 11:40 pm

    I too would love to find the time to learn and try out tempering. I fear this may never happen but in my dreams I would learn with my fave chocolatier William Curley!
    Anyhow, your beautiful chocs are something I would be over the moon to receive, a perfect home-made gift 🙂 xx

  17. thelittleloaf

    19th December 2011 at 9:23 am

    These look gorgeous and perfect for Christmas presents. I’ve never tried to temper chocolate – maybe I’m too obsessed with making cake and baking?! – but would love to learn how.

  18. Hannah

    19th December 2011 at 11:20 am

    Beautiful! Look very swanky when all glitzed and bagged up, bet they all went down a treat!

  19. Johanna GGG

    19th December 2011 at 1:15 pm

    I love how the white ones look a bit like snowmen faces – great gifts – tempering or not!

  20. Helen @ Fuss Free Flavours

    19th December 2011 at 7:26 pm

    I am not sure that I would be able to give them away. They look lovely.

    I must get overe my fear of tempering and just read the William Curley book and get on with it!

  21. C

    19th December 2011 at 7:38 pm

    They look really pretty – I’ve made similar in the past and they’re so straightforward to do, but get such positive feedback from happy friends and family. A must-do!!!

  22. Vanessa Kimbell

    19th December 2011 at 8:19 pm

    Brilliant ! I so inspired .. I will make some too !! xxx

  23. At Anna's kitchen table

    19th December 2011 at 11:13 pm

    They look great, really Christmassy!!

  24. Joanna @ Zeb Bakes

    20th December 2011 at 12:25 am

    Woo Hoo. Look at those, the tempering Goddess has smiled on you making those – what a lot of work went into those little beauties. Have a lovely Christmas Choclette 🙂

  25. Hazel at Chicken in a Cherry Sauce

    20th December 2011 at 4:25 pm

    These look wonderful – definitely a great addition to any hamper! Love the edible glitter. I need to find this stuff and start using it!

  26. Dom

    20th December 2011 at 5:02 pm

    so pretty and so inspiring too, they just make the most adorable gifts in those little bags too… I think I might have to run my hand to doing something similar… or you could just send me some which would be a whole lot easier!

  27. Mozart's Girl

    20th December 2011 at 6:19 pm

    Beautiful! I always make some of these for my Dad at Christmas (even though he’s Jewish 🙂 because they are so gorgeous & easy too! Yours look wonderful. I hope that you have an amazing Christmas & a lots of love, luck & happiness in 2012 xoxo Rachel

  28. Gloria

    20th December 2011 at 9:21 pm

    Love these:)

  29. celia

    21st December 2011 at 12:33 am

    Magnificent! The gold dust is magical, and maybe you’ve nailed a new method of tempering that hasn’t been discovered yet! Have a wonderful Chrissie, Choc! 🙂

  30. wizardofwords

    21st December 2011 at 1:20 pm

    Those mendiants look dreamy.

    The best ones I’ve ever had is in France at Puyricard Chocolatier. WOW! What a creation!

    If anyone loves chocolate and loves to travel, please do check out my chocolate travel blog – Diversions with Doreen. Merry Christmas and thanks for sharing,
    Doreen Pendgracs

  31. Choclette

    22nd December 2011 at 5:32 pm

    Susan – you are most very welcome.

    CC – yes, it’s strange how chocolate I always seem to find room for a chocolate or two 😉

    Chele – thank you, a complement indeed.

    Phil – excellent, thank you. Sometimes upmarket is just what is needed!

    Baking Addict – oh thank you. It always gives me a buzz when someone thinks something I’ve done is elegant. I seem to remember your bark looking really good.

    HH – and there was me thinking a thermometer might solve all my problems 🙁

    Foodycat – these were the ones I was most proud of – have had feedback on some of the items, but not on these yet!

    Mariam – they’d go very nicely with a mug of hot chocolate, I’m sure 🙂

    Jo – thank you. Glad you like the sparkles.

    Janice – thank you. The size of these is just about right I reckon.

    Jude – thank you for the elegant accolade, just love it when I get that 😉

    Karen – now frivolous, there’s a new one – quite like that too! Haven’t used the glitter again, but am planning on some more hamper goods tomorrow, so it might make an outing again.

    MCB – thank you very much.

    Garden Teacakes – thank you for liking my wrapping – it’s rarely my strong point.

  32. Choclette

    22nd December 2011 at 5:48 pm

    CityHippy – not sure how I managed it, but they seem to be OK still!!! Now I thought you HAD mastered it. Good Luck. Disco Gold is a great name.

    Laura – thank you. I’m feeling very envious of William Curly being your favourite as I’ve never tried any of his. Perhaps we should have a food bloggers meet-up and tempering class sometime?

    Little Loaf – Thank you. Obsessed with baking sounds good to me! See above comment on tempering.

    Hannah – thank you very much. Still awaiting feedback on these.

    Johanna – so glad you pointed that out, next time I might try and do faces.

    Helen – oh you have the book? I’ve very much hoping I might get it for Christmas. You know I haven’t even tried one of these yet. Just waiting to see how many I need to give, but am sure I’ll be able to sneak one or two.

    C – have you got these on your blog? I’ll have to come and have a look.

    Vanessa – these are so worth making and not nearly as fiddly as I thought they might be.

    Anna – thank you.

    Joanna – thank you. You’re absolutely right, she was with me that day, but she’s a fickle thing and I suspect may not favour me next time.

    Hazel – thank you. It’s fun having some sparkly stuff to play with from time to time, especially at Christmas.

    Dom – Thank you, that’s a lovely complement. Wouldn’t want to spoil your creativity by sending you some though 😉

    Mozart’s Girl – oh my dad’s Jewish too. What do you put on his I’m wondering? Thank you so much for your good wishes.

    Gloria – thank you.

    Celia – thank you. Suspect it was a one off though!

    Wizard – thank you. Well French chocolates are some of the most elegant – long way to go though.


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