Chocolate mendiants

Louise Robinson's delicate chocolate buttons make a perfect gift idea, as this easy recipe can be adapted to suit any tastes with different toppings or types of chocolate. For a professional finish, try tempering the chocolate first for a glossy finish.

First published in 2015
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Any edible gifts at this time of year are always gratefully received, they do not have to be time-consuming or complicated to make, and many recipes can be simplified. These mendiants for example, are in essence, exotically-topped chocolate buttons.

You can make them by tempering the chocolate so that it remains glossy and has a clean snap when broken in half. You can then top your mendiants with delicately perfumed crystallised violets and rose petals, toasted pistachios and a hint of sea salt to bring out the flavour of the chocolate.

Alternatively, you can make them using the easier method below. They will still taste wonderful. You can decorate them with kids, using coloured sprinkles, edible glitter or popping candy. However you choose to make or decorate them, they are the perfect gift for chocolate lovers.

Ingredients

Metric

Imperial

Chocolate mendiants

Method

1
Take two sheets of non-stick baking paper and use a marker pen to draw twenty-five circles on each sheet (approximately 4.5cm in size) – try drawing around an egg cup or a small round pastry cutter. Turn the paper over and place on a cool flat surface or baking tray
2
Take the dark chocolate, chop it into small pieces and place in a heatproof bowl. Fill a small saucepan up to a quarter with water and bring to a simmer. When the pan is barely simmering, place the bowl of chocolate on top, making sure that the water does not touch the bottom of the bowl
3
Without stirring, leave the chocolate until it is half melted, take the pan off the heat and allow the rest to melt in the residual heat
4
Meanwhile, very lightly toast the pistachios in a small frying pan. This will only take a minute or so, so keep your eye on them
5
Tip the pistachios on to a plate to cool, and have the other toppings to hand as you will need to work quickly once the chocolate has melted
6
Once the chocolate has melted, using a couple of teaspoons, spoon the chocolate on to the circles on the baking paper in batches of six. Decorate with pistachios and rose petals, and a few sea salt flakes if using
7
Continue in batches with the rest of the chocolate. If the chocolate in the bowl starts to solidify, place back on the pan of hot water briefly, just until it is melted enough that you can work with it again
8
Clean and dry any equipment scrupulously to ensure that it is free from any residual grease and water and repeat as above with the white chocolate. Decorate with the crystallised violets
9
Leave the mendiants to cool and set, but do not put them in the fridge, otherwise the chocolate will lose its glossiness
10
When set, carefully peel off the paper and place into an airtight container, or cellophane bags and boxes tied with ribbon, if making for gifts
First published in 2015
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Louise Robinson is a former fashion accessories designer turned freelance food writer, stylist and photographer now based in the Sussex countryside.

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