Once you have mastered the process of tempering chocolate, you are going to want to be able to do something with all of it. One of the simplest options for your tempered chocolate is using it to dip strawberries, homemade marshmallows or other goodies that you already have around the house that could use a layer of chocolate. The next simplest option is to make Chocolate Mendiants. Mendiants are a traditional French confection made with a disc of chocolate topped with dried fruits and nuts. They’re typically very colorful and they are so versatile that they never get boring.
Mendiants can be made with white, milk or dark chocolate and any combination of topping elements. Whole nuts, such as almonds and hazelnuts, are traditionally the “anchor” of a mendiant and other nuts and dried fruits are added for color and flavor. The key to a good mendiant is to experiment with flavors that you like, but to try to chose combinations that look as good as they taste so that the candies are visually appealing, too. Whole
You can customize the treats to your own tastes, but you’ll get the best results by mixing up a variety of colors, flavors and textures. For a little inspiration, a few of my favorite combinations include:
- Almonds, pistachios and dried apricots
- Almonds, pistachios and cacao nibs (pictured)
- Walnuts, pistachios and cranberries
- Pecans, cherries and gingersnap cookie pieces
- Macadamia nuts, dried pineapple and coconut shreds
You will want to line your work surface with parchment paper so that it is easy to move your mendiants after they have set up. I prefer to put my parchment on baking sheets, so that the mendiants are easy to move around if I need more space, but you can just as easily place the parchment sheets on a table or countertop. Make sure that your toppings are close by; the chocolate sets up quickly once it is piped and you want those toppings to be easy to reach for! I recommend piping a few circles of chocolate at a time, then adding the toppings before piping another row. The chocolate will spread slightly, but you can put these fairly close together and fit a lot of chocolates onto one sheet of parchment.
8-oz white, milk or dark chocolate, tempered*
nuts: almonds, walnuts, pistachios
dried fruit: raisins, cranberries, cherries
other toppings: gingersnap cookie pieces, cacao nibs, coarse salt
Line a baking sheet or two with parchment paper.
Place nuts, dried fruits and other toppings in small, easy-to-access bowls near your work station.
Pour tempered chocolate into a piping bag or large ziploc bag. Snip a small hole as a tip in the bag and pipe rounds of chocolate about 3/4-inch in diameter onto prepared parchment paper.
Pipe 6-8 rounds of chocolate, then add toppings to them before they set up.
Repeat with remaining chocolate until all of it has been used up.
Makes 3 dozen, depending on the size of the candies.
*Note: You can simply melt your chocolate and still make mendiants with it, but the chocolate will bloom after a little while. Mendiants made with untempered chocolate should be stored in the fridge (to minimize bloom) and eaten quickly, but still make a fun no-fuss snack if you’re planning to just munch on them yourself at home.