If making homemade chocolates is something you’ve always wanted to do but think may be above your kitchen skill level, why not try your hand at mendiants? What is a mendiant? It’s a beautiful bite-sized chocolate disc that requires no more skill than pouring and decorating — no special equipment necessary.
A French confection with the Latin root mendicans, for “begging,” mendiants were originally named for those in religious orders who survive entirely off donations. Each of the elements traditionally set into the chocolate discs represent a color of traditional Roman Catholic monastic robes: Dominicans, Augustinians, Franciscans and Carmelites. (Note: Carmelite is not a type of confection, it just super sounds like one.) The toppings of raisins, hazelnuts, figs and almonds, respectively, are a good place to start, but feel free to branch out into the decidedly secular options of crisped rice, toffee chips, flaky sea salt, shredded coconut and cacao nibs.
How do you make mendiants? Using a double-boil method, melt down a couple of cups of high-quality chocolate and transfer to a large, sturdy zip-top bag. Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper, then snip away a corner of the bag and pipe round discs onto the paper. Top as desired and allow to set in the fridge for at least an hour.
Mendiants are a great way to break into the confection world and flex your creative muscles — churn out a batch and see where your chocolate craving takes you.