Dear Reader, I woke up this morning and realised I was in love….with a box of chocolates! Not just any old chocolate but a box of mendiants, which incidentally I discovered completely by accident. You know when you go into a non gf shop and you find something gluten free? In your excitement you buy it, why? Well quite simply because it’s gluten free!…ok so the roasted almonds didn’t hurt and the dark chocolate kinda sealed the deal but either way I’m glad I bought them.
I realised this after discovering my hand had involuntarily finished half a box without my knowledge or consent. I guess I should have known, seeing that roasted almonds and dark chocolate is my all time favourite snack. I discovered this while living in Tunisia, with a bag of Jeff permanently glued to my hand and the smell of freshly roasted nuts floating flirtatiously through the air at every turn. The partnership just seemed inevitable.
I mean, I was excited when I found out about Chocolate and Courgette or more recently Chocolate and Chestnut but this is just a match made in heaven. But alas things didn’t go as smoothly as planned. Believe it or not it’s quite the balancing act, getting that chocolate hit and almond crunch at the same time, with both hands full and although my juggling act was nearing perfection, I still needed some help and that’s when Delavuida stepped in with a box of thin chocolate disks, lovingly decorated with toasted crunchy almonds. So simple, yet so effective.
But I can’t give Delavuida all the credit because mendiants are not a Spanish delicacy. They originate from France and are usually eaten at Christmas and although, I keep mentioning the dark chocolate and almond combo, traditionally mendiants are decorated with nuts and dried fruits because each nut is said to represent a monastic order: Raisins for the Dominican monks, Dried fig for the Franciscans, Hazelnuts for the Augustin order and finally almonds for the Carmelites.
Being the Curious Baker, I decided to give them a gluten free go, fast forward to a shocking amount of baking paper and melted choc everywhere and here are the results of the fruits of my labour:
I’m a dark chocolate purist but the Cynic and Pink Lady are strictly white chocoholics, I know, I know, it’s enough to bring a tear to your eye; I’m embarrassed just writing it! But having said that, the white choc mendiants did look very pretty and the red berry white choc combo was actually quite nice. So you have the choice of going traditional or letting your imagination run wild. Coming up to Christmas you can create all kinds of festive combinations and once you start it’s hard to stop. I tried dark choc and saffron, fleur de sel, pink peppercorns. I guess I was in mad scientist mode.
Mendiants are too good to keep to yourself and so easy to make that I decided to share my joy with the world and enter them for Food Blogga’s Eat Christmas Cookies Season Three. Once you’re done with the mendiants you might like to try some of the cookie entries on her site?
(I’m not sure how many I made, maybe about 60 pieces in total)
Apparently mendiants are the perfect gift to give to family and friends at Christmas but I found that once mine hit room temperature or got a little too hot, it was bye bye mendiants and hello masses of melted chocolate! Just something for you to be aware of…oh and make sure the chocolate you use is of the highest quality of there’s just no point
2 bars of (4oz/100g) chocolate one dark and one white
Whatever decoration you want to use: As I said for the dark chocolate I used, roasted almonds, pistachios, saffron, fleur de sel, and pink peppercorns
For the white chocolate I used, dried red berries (which worked really well) dried pears were also very good, then assorted nuts and dark chocolate shavings
Put all your ingredients in little glass bowls and have them to hand before doing anything else
Clear a shelf in the fridge, then cut a sheet of baking paper and place the baking paper on a large tray that fits easily in the fridge space you’ve cleared. (This will make it easier to transfer the mendiants from worktop to fridge when they’re still soft.
So you should have a large tray that fits easily in the fridge, on your worktop, then on top of the worktop you should have the baking paper.
Now find an object that has the same diameter as the mendiants you want to make (I think I used a baby food jar, or the inside of a sellotape roll.)Then with a pencil, use it to trace the outline of about 20 mendiants.
Put a small saucepan of water over a low heat, then place a bowl or the saucepan.
Break up the bar of chocolate and place the chocolate pieces in a bowl and wait for it to melt, stirring occasionally with spoon
Don’t melt all the chocolate at the same time. Do the dark chocolate first, put it in the fridge, then once you’ve finished. Melt the white chocolate and repeat the process again.
Drop half a teaspoon into the circles of your prepared baking paper then shape the chocolate with the back of the spoon until it fills the outlined circles, which should form a disk shape.
Place the topping of your choice on the disk, then leave to cool.
Do about three of these at a time, stop to decorate, then do another three, just so the chocolate doesn’t cool too quickly. It may also be helpful to have an empty bowl and a teaspoon to hand, to catch the drips of chocolate.
Lift the tray off the worktop, then place in the fridge to cool down. The mendiants are ready when you can peel them off the baking paper easily.
Mendiants au chocolat blanc et au chocolat noir
Il parait que les mendiants sont des cadeaux idéaux à offrir pendant la Fête de Noel mais j’avais remarqué que une fois refroidi les miens une fois refroidi se sont mis à fondre à nouveau. Juste un petit mot d’avertissement …Il faut chercher du chocolat de très bonne qualité sinon c’est pas la peine
200g de chocolat (100g de chocolat noir à 70% et 100g de chocolat blanc)
N’importe quels ingrédients que vous voulez incorporer les décorer.
Pour le chocolat noir, j’avais utilisé des amandes grillées, des pistaches, baies roses et fleur de sel.
Pour le chocolat blanc, c’était des fruits rouges séchées et des poires séchées et puis des fruits secs assortis.
Avant de commencer, pour vous faciliter la tâche mettez vos fruits secs dans plusieurs ramequins différents.
Rangez votre frigo pour qu’il y ait un rayon libre pour mettre les mendiants dedans.
Couvrez une plaque (assez grande pour entrer au frigo) de papier sulfurisé
Trouvez un objet ayant le même diamètre qu’un mendiant (ex.je crois que j’avais utilisé un bocal vide ou l’intérieur d’un petit rouleau scotch).
A l’aide d’un crayon, tracez le contour de l’objet sur le papier sulfurisé
Cassez le chocolat en morceaux et le faire fondre au bain marie
Déposez une demi-cuillère à café de chocolat sur la plaque recouverte de papier sulfurisé, de manière à former un cercle, vous pouvez utiliser vos lignes déjà tracées pour vous guider.
Décorer chaque cercle de chocolat avec des fruits secs (ex. une noisette, une pistache, un morceau de poire séchée).
Recommencez en espaçant les cercles jusqu’à épuisement du chocolat.
Décollez-les une fois durcis et dégustez.
Procédez de la même manière avec le chocolat blanc.