Lucy Burton's Postal Bakes book is all about treats you can make and easily post to a loved one for a super delicious surprise delivery. Lucy says, "Less of a recipe and more of an idea, these chocolate buttons, or mendiants in French, are an easy gift to make and perfect for using up odds and ends lurking at the back of the baking cupboard. Don't be tempted to melt the chocolate over a high heat or set these in the fridge, as the rapid change in temperature may cause the chocolate to bloom, which is when little white marks appear on the surface."
150g good-quality dark chocolate (minimum 70% cocoa solids)
1 tsp flaky sea salt
Selection of toppings, such as: pistachio slivers, dried rose petals, chopped stem ginger, dried fruits or sprinkles
- Line a 20 x 30 cm (8 x 12 inch) tin with baking parchment on the base only.
- To melt the chocolate, bring a pan of water to a gentle simmer and set a snug-fitting heatproof bowl over the top, ensuring that the water in the pan doesn't touch the base of the bowl. Add the chocolate to the bowl and heat, without stirring, until about half the chocolate has melted, then remove the bowl from the pan and stir until melted. If not all of the chocolate quite melts, return the bowl to the pan and heat gently for another 5 minutes before removing and stirring again.
- Pour the chocolate into a piping bag with a small round tip, then pipe small pools of chocolate onto the baking parchment in the tin until you have used up all of the chocolate. Sprinkle the chocolate with a little sea salt, then scatter over your choice of toppings.
- Leave the buttons to set firm at room temperature.
SHELF LIFE: These will keep well for up to two weeks.
SUBSTITUTIONS: Use whatever toppings you have to hand. You could make these using milk or white chocolate, too.
POSTING: Pack the buttons in a small cellophane bag, seal with tape, then wrap gently in tissue paper. If sending in a mixed box, pack these at the top.
Edited extract from Postal Bakes by Lucy Burton, published by Welbeck. Photography by Nassima Rothacker. RRP $37