Easy Homemade Giveaways – Mendiants

8 Dec

I have made it a habit of giving home-made gifts to friends and acquaintances for Christmas ever since we moved to Germany. I think it is much better than buying a box of chocolates or cookies and hopefully, they are appreciated by my recipients. Every year I try something different. When I first started I wasn’t low-carbing and I made the usual butter Christmas cookies with icing sugar glaze everyone makes. It was something new for me but now I realise that no one wants to receive those because in all probability, they have baked some at home too. So I’ve moved away from cookies and tried to make things which you would normally not receive from other people.

For this year’s giveaway I made mendiants. Here’s what Wikipedia says about them:

“A mendiant is a traditional French confection composed of a chocolate disk studded with nuts and dried fruits representing the four mendicant or monastic orders of the Dominicans, Augustinians, Franciscans and Carmelites.  Each of the nuts and dried fruits used refer to the color of monastic robes with tradition dictating raisins for the Dominicanshazelnut for the Augustins, dried fig for Franciscans and almond for Carmelite. Usually found during Christmas, recipes for this confection have veered away from the traditional combination of nuts and fruits to other combinations incorporating seeds, fruit peels and other items.”

These can be made from low carb to high carb depending on the chocolate you use. The higher the content of cocoa in the chocolate, the lower carb it is. I used chocolate with 70% cocoa instead of my usual 81% because I’ve noticed that most people like their chocolate a bit sweeter here. The brand of chocolate with 70% cocoa I’ve used contains 31 gr carbs per 100 gr while the one with 81% carbs has 22.8 gr carbs per 100 gr. If I were making these for ourselves, I would of course use the lower carb variety.

As for the fruit and nuts, I just used what I had lying around. You don’t need a lot of it since you are only using small pieces.

Mendiants look so impressive and are really a no-brainer to make. Melt chocolate, drop in rounds onto silicon baking sheet, decorate with fruit and nuts, let harden and voila!

Mendiants

For 50 pieces here is what I did.

Melt 3 blocks chocolate (my blocks were 125gr each) in a glass bowl set over or in a pot with hot water (bring water to boil and turn down heat to lowest setting, then put in bowl). This takes about 10 min.

During this time, get your ‘decorations’ ready. Apart from a selection of fruit and nuts, you could use toasted dessicated coconut, biscuits broken into little pieces, candy (if you are not counting carbs), gummi bears – use your imagination.

Roast your nut selection in the oven till lightly browned. These should be small. Peanuts and pistachios can be left whole. Hazelnuts too if they aren’t too big. Cut walnuts or pecans in half. Almonds – I used the slivered variety.

For the fruit – raisins, craisins and dried cherries can be left whole. Cut up the bigger dried fruit. Some of these fruit aren’t low carb but you are eating only one tiny piece per mendiant.

Get at least two big oven baking trays ready and line them with silicon mats or parchment paper, or if you have, a feuille guitare which is a plastic sheet used by confectioners to make chocolate.

Drop spoonfuls of chocolate into nice rounds on the sheets. I got 25 per tray. You don’t want to make them too small otherwise you won’t be able to put much on them. Mine were about 3.5cm – 4cm in diameter (1 1/2 to 1 3/4 inch). The soft chocolate will spread a tiny bit more under the weight of the nuts and fruits that you put on. Now start decorating.

Let them harden fully before attempting to peel them off the sheets. I put my trays outside and the cold winter air hardened the chocolate up in no time.

Keep your mendiants in the refrigerator. Absolutely divine with a cup of espresso! Oops, I mean, give them away as soon as possible.

Nutritional Information 

  • 375 gr 70% chocolate yielding 50 pcs, per piece – fruit and nuts not included

  Total Cal – 41.32 kcal; Fat – 3.07 gr; Carbs – 2.32 gr; Protein – 0.6 gr

  • 375 gr 81% choc yielding 50 pcs, per piece – fruit and nuts not included

  Total Cal – 41.25 kcal; Fat – 3.21 gr; Carbs – 1.71 gr; Protein – 0.75 gr

Print this recipe – Mendiants

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