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Monday, December 7, 2015

Chocolate Fruit 'n Nut Bites

Chocolate Fruit 'n Nut Bites - Mendiants
Here's the thing, I love holiday baking. The planning, the process, the wrapping, the handing out to teachers, bus drivers, neighbors, and loved ones...or at least, I used to. I'd still love it if I could only find the time to do it. For the past 5 or 6 years, it seems like I go to sleep after a satisfying Thanksgiving meal and wake up a few days before Christmas in a panic. The holidays are stressful, yo.

But I do my best to wake up in the middle of it all and actually get something done. Therefore, easy holiday baking and treat recipes are a life saver. And really, these chocolate fruit 'n nut bites couldn't be any simpler. There's not really even a recipe, but I did write down approximate amounts of what I used so that you could have a bit of a guideline to go off of.

Use the best quality chocolate that you can afford, and then raid your pantry and freezer for nuts, seeds, and dried fruit in different colors. I guarantee you that the even though they're probably the simplest thing on your holiday "baking" tray, they'll also get the most ooohs and aaahs. They're straight up pretty.

And actually, I only found this out yesterday, but these little treats actually have a name—Mendiants. According to wiki, a mendiant is a French confection that represents the four mendicants (or monastic orders): the Dominicans, Augustinians, Franciscans, and the Carmelites. Traditionally the chocolate disks only feature 4 adornments total... a raisin, a hazelnut, a dried fig, and an almond—each color representing the monastic robes and usually found during Christmas.

If you know me, you know that I find dishes rich in history even more appealing, so these are a win-win-win (easy, delicious and filled with culture).

Chocolate Fruit 'n Nut Bites (Mendiants)
These chocolate disks studded with nuts and dried fruit then sprinkled with sea salt are a variation on the traditional French confection called mendiants.
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Chocolate Fruit 'n Nut Bites
by Heather Schmitt-Gonzalez
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Keywords: dessert vegetarian soy-free chocolate dried fruit nuts Christmas candy French winter

Ingredients (12 to 15 pieces)
  • 8 ounces good quality chocolate (milk, semi-sweet, dark or white)
  • 1/2 cup assorted nuts and/or seeds
  • 1/2 cup assorted dried fruit, cut smaller if large
  • coarse or flaked sea salt, optional
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set your assorted dried fruit and nuts out on your work surface.

Place your chocolate in a small bowl set over a pot of simmering water (make sure the bowl does not touch the water). Use a heat-proof rubber spatula to stir the chocolate until it is melted and smooth.

Drop the melted chocolate by 1/2 tablespoon scoops onto the prepared baking sheet, swirling a little to make a circle. Add fruit and nuts in any combo you like, sprinkle with a pinch of sea salt if using. I find it works best if I make about 3 at a time (so that the chocolate doesn't start to set before the toppings are added).

Slide tray in the fridge until hard they have hardened. Store bites covered in the fridge or at a very cool room temperature.

Welcome to Day 1 of Christmas Week!
This annual event was started in 2012, and is hosted by Kim of Cravings of a Lunatic. This year we have over 35 bloggers sharing festive sweet recipes for the event. Plus we all chipped in for a huge Amazon Gift Card Giveaway (open to residents of USA and Canada) so be sure to enter!

Recipes from Day 1 of Christmas Week:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Christmas Week Amazon Gift Card Giveaway is open to USA and Canada. Giveaway will run from December 7, 2015 to December 26, 2015. Winners must be 18 years of age. Winners will be notified by email. Winners will be asked a skill testing question.