Serving Size: 15, 2-inch mendiants
Time: 6 hours (including chill time)
2 cups granulated white sugar
2 cups water
1 vanilla bean
(1) 8oz clamshell blue oyster mushrooms
(1) 8oz clamshell yellow oyster mushrooms
(1) 8oz clamshell maitake mushrooms
6 ounces (1 bar) Tony’s Chocolonely 70% dark chocolate
1 tablespoon coconut oil
Flaky sea salt
Step 01 - Make the simple syrup. Combine the granulated white sugar and water in a medium-sized pot. Split the vanilla bean in half lengthwise with a small paring knife and add to the pot. Melt out the sugar over low heat until the syrup is lightly steaming across the surface.
Step 02 - Prep the mushrooms. Prepare the mushrooms for candying. Use a small, sharp paring knife to slice the yellow and blue oyster mushrooms into individual stems 1 to 2 inches long; handle them carefully so as to best preserve their delicate umbrella shape. (Save the larger stumps for flavoring broth and sauces). Use your fingers to gently shred the maitake into bite-sized pieces, pulling it apart like string cheese.
Step 03 - Candy the mushrooms. Add the prepared mushrooms to the vanilla simple syrup. Gently simmer on very low heat (just a few bubbles popping along the surface), to candy the mushrooms gently, about 1 to 2 hours. The syrup will reduce by over half into a thick, viscous liquid; the mushrooms will turn translucent and sheer. The candied mushrooms can be stored, in their syrup, for up to 3 weeks in an airtight container in the fridge.
To prepare them for the mendiants, carefully remove the mushrooms from the syrup with a slotted spoon and spread them out on a sheet tray lined with parchment paper. Dry them out at room temperature or in a cool room overnight, or at least 3 hours, depending on where you are; they should feel firmer, less sticky, and be totally candied all the way through. Flip the mushrooms over after a few hours so they dry out evenly.
(Leftover vanilla bean syrup can be used for poaching fruit, flavoring icings, or stirred into cocktails).
Step 04 - Melt the chocolate. Chop the chocolate roughly and add to a small heatproof bowl. Add the coconut oil and stir with a heatproof spatula. Set the bowl over a small pot filled with an inch of water so it fits snugly. Heat the water over medium-low heat, which will indirectly melt the chocolate and coconut oil. Stir the chocolate mixture occasionally until warm, glossy, and emulsified. Set aside to cool briefly, so the mixture slightly thickens, about 30 minutes.
Step 05 - Make the mendiants. Line two half sheet trays with parchment paper or a non-stick silicone mat. Spoon a tablespoon of the chocolate mixture onto the parchment; it will spread into a coin shape about 2 inches wide. While the chocolate is still liquid, arrange a few pieces of candied mushroom on top. Transfer to the refrigerator to completely set, about 20 to 30 minutes. If you’d like perfectly circular mendiants, you can use a 2-inch cookie cutter to punch out neat shapes. Peel the mendiants off of the parchment paper with a small knife or offset spatula, and sprinkle the surface with flaky sea salt. Eat while slightly chilled; the chocolate should be snappy and crunchy.