Because chocolate is such a precious ingredient, I always want to make the most of it. And sometimes that means making a dramatic presentation with a small quantity of chocolate. I wanted to make a pretty, delicate chocolate container that was not too difficult (or time consuming) to make and did not require special equipment of molds. A lacy pattern seemed like just the thing for individual desserts for a couple of reasons. First, because the effect is so unusual in food (and impressive). Secondly, because you can make a container with very little chocolate. (My dessert cups are half an ounce each.) This is desirable not just to be thrifty, but because a huge hunk of chocolate is usually not what you want stuck in the middle of your dessert plate. But a delicate form you can shatter into shards offers a pleasant textural contrast to a dish-- much like you get with a mint chip or stracciatella ice cream.
It took a few trials for me to hammer out a technique that works, but I finally found a winner. First, I made a template for a parchment form, which gives you the shape of the bowl. Then the lace pattern is made by piping loops of tempered chocolate out over the back of the form. ( And don't worry if you don't have a clue how to temper chocolate-- I give details on a microwave method that will give you tempered chocolate in under ten minutes.) Let the chocolate set and then peel away the parchment . Voila! A stunning, (and simple!) bowl made entirely of chocolate. I’ve even attached a pdf of my template so you can make your own bowl forms in a snap. The bowls work perfectly for serving ice creams, mousses or chilled fruit.
The full project writeup is also available on my blog, along with a writeup on tempering chocolate including tips and troubleshooting.