I am just now learning about this wonderful French holiday treat called mendiants. I’m seeing them everywhere from food blogs to food magazines this holiday season. I am intrigued by all of the little adornments that sit atop simple chocolate discs. Until I made them, I had no idea how each one is packed with a different flavor combination. I enjoy the burst of citrus, salty and sweet...all in one bite!
Inspired by their beauty, I scoured my pantry, spice cabinet and cake decorating drawer for toppings. I knew I would have a stash of chocolate on hand to make a few. Mendiants are really quite simple. I began by adding a little shine to the nuts I selected. This isn’t necessary, but why not add a little more sparkle and flavor. I tossed a cup of mixed nuts into about half cup of warmed corn syrup and stirred until well coated. Using a slotted spoon, I removed the nuts and drained well for about a minute. I spread the coated nuts on parchment in a single layer, and baked at 350°F until brown, about 15 minutes.
I sorted all of my toppings which included candied orange peel, candied lemon peel, candied ginger, toasted coconut, dried cranberries, golden raisins, edible gold leaf, gold coated chocolate flakes, gold star sprinkles, red sprinkles, and pearl sprinkles.
12 ounces of semi-sweet chocolate were melted in a glass bowl over a pot of simmering water. I stirred until the chocolate was melted and smooth. Using a spoon, I dropped a mound of about 2 teaspoons of chocolate onto parchment, and lightly spread it with the back of the spoon into a 2-inch wide circle. Decorative toppings were added, and I repeated until all of the chocolate had been shaped and adorned. It's so much fun making these with children. The decorative chocolate discs will harden in about 30 minutes. These can be stored at room temperature. Mendiants are beautiful displayed on a platter, individually wrapped or a great addition to a gift tin of mixed holiday treats.