The French term for button candies is nonpareils, which means "without peer." No one who remembers them from their youth would argue with that appellation. Nonpareils-dark chocolate buttons topped with sugar beads-are the caviar of childhood.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In the top of a double boiler or in a heat-proof bowl set over a pan of simmering water, melt the chocolate and shortening, stirring with a rubber spatula until smooth.
Spoon the melted chocolate in nickel-size circles onto prepared baking sheet. Cool for 20 minutes; sprinkle with sugar beads. Let nonpareils harden in a cool place for 4 hours before serving.
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