Mendiants

Yield: 18 candies

INGREDIENTS

4 ounces Ghirardelli 60% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate Baking Bar
18 pecan halves or whole almonds (1-inch long or smaller)
18 pieces dried apricots (1 by 1/4-inch strips)
18 pieces crystallized ginger (1 by 1/4-inch to 1/2-inch chunks)

INSTRUCTIONS

Chop chocolate into 1-inch pieces. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Spread out the nuts in a pie or cake pan. Bake the nuts until golden under the skin, about 8 minutes. Let cool. Melt the chocolate in the top of a double boiler or in a heatproof bowl over barely simmering water, stirring occasionally until smooth. Working quickly, for each candy, drop 1 teaspoon melted chocolate onto the prepared baking sheet, spacing the drops about 1 inch apart. After you have formed about 6 drops, place a nut, piece of apricot, and a piece of ginger on each. Repeat to use all the chocolate. If the chocolate becomes too thick to form nice round drops, set the chocolate back over the hot water and stir until chocolate softens, but do not turn on the heat. Remove from the hot water, then continue forming drops. If the chocolate firms before you can attach toppings, dab a little melted chocolate on the back of the topping and place on a chocolate drop. Let the mendiants stand until firm at room temperature, 5 to 10 minutes. If the chocolate does not firm within 10 minutes, chill until firm, about 10 minutes. You can substitute milk or white chocolate baking bars for a sweeter base.

PRODUCTS USED IN THIS RECIPE