Sparkling Chocolate Mendiants or Giant Buttons
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.
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.
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
- Chocolate brazils
- Christmas chocolate bark
- Peppermint cracknel
- Raw chocolates (vegan)
- Rosemary chocolate truffles
- Whisky truffles
Keep in Touch
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.
Sparkling Chocolate Mendiants. PIN IT.
Sparkling Chocolate Mendiants – The Recipe
Sparkling Chocolate 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.