Special chocolate mendiants

Special chocolate mendiants recipe

41 comments
Special everyday cakes and treats

Did you know traditional French mendiants represent the colours of monastic orders in the Middle Ages?  And in Spain they’re known as bombones músicos?  More chocolate history later.  For now I’ll just say these traditional Christmas treats are delicious, creative and adorable!  You’ll find chocolate mendiants in pâtisseries but the recipe’s so easy you can make them with kids.  Hurray!  I had fun designing special mendiants with nuts, dried fruit, seeds and m&m’s for everyone, including children and the health-conscious.

Chocolate mendiants

Chocolate mendiants

Gathering your ingredients    

Gather up any chocolate, nuts, seeds and dried fruit hanging around your kitchen.  The sky’s the limit so use any ingredients you fancy!  🙂

Chocolate mendiants

Chocolate mendiants

Designing your chocolates

You combine your elements to fit on small chocolate discs so it’s handy to think up designs in advance and maybe sketch them, even if later you don’t follow the plan exactly.

Designing

Sorting your ingredients

Line up your bits and pieces ready to place rapidly on the chocolate discs before they cool and harden.

Organising

Preparing the chocolate and assembling

Use good-quality chocolate.  If your chocolate is old and has seen extreme temperature changes it may not look great or temper well.  My old white chocolate clumped up so was replaced by dark chocolate, which can be 55% if you want it less bitter, to 70%.  250g/9 ounces makes around 30 to 35 mendiants (diametre 4cm/1.5inches).

When all your toppings are ready melt the chocolate slowly on a bain marie. If you’re eating your mendiants within a few days there’s no need to temper but follow my instructions on my tempering chocolate page if you’d like to.

Making the mendiantsPlace little rounds of chocolate on baking paper or a mould with a teaspoon or tablespoon.  A macaron mould helps keep sizes similar.  Then carefully place the bits and bobs on top and the chocolate will spread a little.

Making mendiants

Let your mendiants set then store in the refrigerator in airtight tupperware with waxed or greaseproof paper between layers.  To set quickly (or if you’re in a hot place) pop them in the freezer 20 minutes.

Mendiants

Mendiants

Le verdict

The French and American mendiants were my least favourite. The ‘French’ raspberries and fleur de sel were at odds with each other and so powerful the pistachios were eclipsed.  They were elegant mendiants but might work better with sweet white chocolate as originally planned, to soften the dehydrated raspberries’ intense flavour.

'French' mendiants

‘French’ dehydrated raspberry, pistachio and fleur de sel mendiants

The American spelt pretzels are tasty but lose some crunch and it’s difficult to position other ingredients around them in an attractive manner.

Modern mendiants

Pretzel and m&m’s mendiants

On the positive side the Lacasitos or m&m’s add a great crisp sugar-coated crunch to the Spanish mendiants.  Simple but effective.  Surprisingly they’re my favourites along with the British mendiants.  Maybe I’m in the mood for milk chocolate or have inherently British and childlike tastes.

The British ones remind me of Cadbury’s fruit and nut bars.  Yum.  There’s a good balance of walnut and hazelnut to fruit.  Next time I might try replacing the apple with dried apricot.

'British' walnut, hazelnut, glacé cherry and apple mendiants

‘British’ walnut, hazelnut, glacé cherry and apple mendiants

I also adore the Chinese and Healthy mendiants, with a lovely mix of nuts, seeds and tanginess.  Very tasty!  I love the ginger in the Chinese ones.  Though I did overload them so they lost elegance.

'Chinese' ginger, almond, seed and candied orange mendiants

‘Chinese’ ginger, almond, seed and candied orange mendiants

The goji seeds and goldenfruit in the Healthy ones add such a lovely tangy zing.  And they’re Superfood mendiants!  Woohoo! 🙂

Healthy superfood chocolate mendiants

Healthy superfood chocolate mendiants

This is a very simple recipe for a lovely classic.  No need to wait for Christmas.  You can create any mendiants you like so don’t despair if you can’t find some of the ingredients above.  Keep calm and get creative!  🙂

Chocolate mendiants

Chocolate mendiants

You can keep leftovers in a jar as an energy mix.Energy mix

Any suggestions?

I’ll try making the chocolate discs slimmer and loading some of them up less next time.  But which mendiants would you make or design?  Can you suggest another country or mix of ingredients?

A little history

The original mendiants are made with a combination of dried fruit and nuts that represent the colours of mendicant or monastic orders, depending on others’ charity to survive.  Mendiant is French for beggar or begging.   Classically there’s raisin for the Dominicans, hazelnut for the Augustins, dried fig for Franciscans and almond for the Carmelite.  But nowadays there are many variations of mendiants.

Chocolate mendiants

Chocolate mendiants

In Spain there are the extremely similar bombones músicos or de músico.   It’s not easy to trace their origins online but it’s possible they came from France.  Why are they called músicos (musicians)?  El invitado de invierno has a recipe for a dessert postre de músico and says the name may have originated from a village custom of giving presents of homemade dried fruit to travelling musicians.

Giving them away

One thing is sure though.  These chocolates make lovely gifts and can be taylor-made for the recipient to contain their favourite things!  And getting children involved in making them is a lovely idea.  Mendiants don’t have to look like they came out of a pâtisserie!

Chocolate mendiants

Chocolate mendiants

So they’re charming and practical chocolates, with a ‘superfood’ version if that’s your thing.  Do please have a little chocolate mendiant or two.  They’re made from chocolate so they’ll make you very happy!  🙂  I confess I had a few for breakfast and am feeling rather mellow now.  Ahem.

I hope they’ll make everyone happy at Fiesta Friday hosted by Angie@TheNoviceGardener, Kaila@GF Life 24/7 and Sarah@ Sarah’s Little Kitchen; Fabulous Foodie Fridays hosted by Lucy@BakePlaySmile and Lauren@CreateBakeMake, and Perfecting Patisserie hosted by Lucy@bakingqueen74.  Check out the great recipes at these parties!  🙂

Chocolate mendiants

Chocolate mendiants

So farewell sweet reader!  Wishing you a lovely weekend ahead with a lovely mix of whatever makes your day!  Happy baking, no-baking and eating! 🙂 x

 

 

 

Posted by

Making cakes with my French mother on Sundays was an important part of my childhood. As an adult I then experimented with baking books and internet recipes and did a great patisserie course in Le Cordon Bleu Paris. I'm still trying out new recipes and creating some of my own cakes with influences from all around the world, adding some healthy ones to the repertoire. Yes, I love cakes!!! :)

41 thoughts on “Special chocolate mendiants recipe”

  1. Lili, It’s so fun to see what can be done with chocolate. I have a dream that I go Europe and work for a chocolatier for a month! I knew someone ages ago who went to a patisserie to learn to bake! I wonder where I could find that macaron form?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, chocolate is great…! And I’ve become a little obsessed with it recently… Maybe you could find some short courses and fulfil your dream 🙂 They have macaron moulds in baking supply shops and on Amazon, if that’s any help? Though you can just spoon chocolate out on baking paper otherwise. Hope you have fun making some! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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    • Thank you so much Evgenia! That’s very sweet of you and I’m happy you like the recipe. That’s what I love about baking – there’s always more to learn and I’ve seen some lovely recipes on your blog that are inspiring me too! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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