Introduction: Chocolate Greeting Cards: Valentine's Berry Bark
A simple handpiped chocolate illustration technique creates the most personalized edible greeting cards for all occasions throughout the year. Who doesn't want to receive a delicious chocolate greeting, especially on Valentine's? Even more, these chocolate cards are chocolate bark packed with light and crisp freeze dried blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries for mouthwatering contrast.
Step 1: What You'll Need
-Good quality chocolate, I prefer using 3 types for contrast (white, milk, and dark)
-Freeze dried berries
Not shown: bowls and spoons
Step 2: Design
Create your design directly on parchment paper. I found the best way to start is to decide the proportions and the measurements of the chocolate bark, and then drawing within those lines. For reference, I made mine 3" x 8", 5" square, and 4" x 7". Make sure there is extra space around your design.
Turn the parchment over so that the design is on the back. You want to ensure you will be working on the REVERSE side of the design.
Fold up along the edge of the design.
Cut each corner up to the fold lines as preparation for a later step when the parchment will be folded into a box.
Step 3: Pipe
Place chocolates in piping bags. Microwave for 30 seconds. Remove the piping bags from the microwave and carefully massage the chocolate to even consistency. Repeat microwaving/removing/massaging at 30 second intervals until the chocolate is melted.
Before getting started, make sure to test the chocolate's temperature on a piece of scrap parchment paper. Cut the end of the piping bag -- just very tiny bit. If the chocolate is too hot, it will pipe out quickly and will be hard to control (the lines will also tend to spread/flatten out). Not hot enough and it will not flow well (and result in squiggly lines).
When you are ready, pipe out the chocolate and trace over the designs, carefully planning their sequence (i.e. if you are doing some layered colors in your design, make sure to start with the color that will show in the foreground).
When the designs are piped, allow the chocolate to set. I put them in the refrigerator to enable them to set quickly.
Step 4: Fill
Tape the corners of each design so that the parchment paper becomes a makeshift box mold.
Microwave chocolate for 30 seconds. Remove from microwave and stir the chocolate to even consistency. Repeat microwaving/stirring at 30 second intervals until the chocolate is melted.
Pour chocolate over each design. If you want layered chocolate, as I made, allow this layer to set. As in the previous step, I put the chocolate in the refrigerator to enable quick setting. However, if you do not want layered chocolate, now is the time to add the fruits before allowing the layer to set.
Step 5: Fruits
Pour an additional chocolate layer over each design. Add the freeze dried fruits, pressing each piece into the chocolate. Allow to set. As in previous steps, I refrigerated the chocolate to expedite the setting.
Once set, remove chocolate bark from parchment.
Step 6: Package
To create a box envelope, you'll need:
1. Measure the size (length x width) of your chocolate bark. Create that outline on the center of the cardstock. Measure the thickness of the bark and use this measurement to draw lines outside of the previous outline drawn. Fold along all the lines drawn.
2. Cut the excess corners.
3. Trim the details, such as the angled side flaps, angled bottom flap, and top flap (I gave the top flap rounded corners).
4. Tape the side flaps together.
5. Fold the bottom flap up and tape shut. And you have a boxy envelope for your chocolate!
Give and share (if you haven't eaten the chocolates already)!
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