Making your own chocolate garnishes is a great way to decorate or accent your dessert, and are really easy to make. There are a few different varieties of chocolate garnishing, but I'll be focusing on two of the most common chocolate garnish varieties: piped chocolate and chocolate curls.
Chocolate curls look great sprinkled over anything (ice cream, cake, coffee) and piped chocolate can take almost any shape you can think of, and make great toppers for desserts. Best of all, piped chocolate can be made to match any theme you have with your dessert and can be almost any shape you like, flat or curved!
Enough talk, let's make some chocolate garnishes!
Step 1: Ingredients + Equipment
Step 2: Temper Chocolate
Here's the highlights for tempering:
set up bain-marie to melt chocolate
- 118oF (48oC) for dark chocolate
- 112oF (45oC) for milk or white chocolate
once melted, remove from heat. Stir until chocolate has cooled to:
- 89-90oF (32oC) for dark chocolate
- 86-88oF (30oC) for milk or white chocolate
Step 3: Piping Chocolate
Start by unrolling a length of wax paper,fold one corner to the opposite side of the sheet creating an isosceles triangle. Curl one of the corners of the triangle up to the triangle tip, this will create a conical shape. Repeat with other side. Fold down wide opening of cone to hold shape. I suggest making a few backups, just in case.
Sounds complicated, but it's easy:
Step 4: Load Piping Bag
When filling your piping bag take care not to over-fill, use small amounts to allow for greater control when piping.
Step 5: Pipe Onto Shapes
Simply find silhouettes of the characters you want to create (I found mine from an internet search), then print them out on your home printer.
Next unroll a length of wax paper, chocolate will be piped directly onto wax paper and removed after it has cooled.
Place your printouts under the wax paper.
With your piping bag filled snip the cone tip off to create a small opening, start by cutting a small opening then cut larger if required. Crimp the large opening of the piping bag and apply gentle pressure to squeeze chocolate onto wax paper and follow the silhouette shapes.
I've attached a PDF of the silhouettes I used for this project.
Step 6: Chocolate Curls
Take tempered chocolate and pour over upturned baking sheet. Using an icing knife spread chocolate evenly over baking sheet, about 6mm (1/4") thick.
Let chocolate cool for a few minutes at room temperature, do not artificially cool (fridge/freezer). When chocolate has cooled, take icing knife at 45o angle and scrape chocolate from baking sheet. If chocolate crumbles and does not curl the chocolate has become too cold and needs to be reapplied to baking sheet. If chocolate smears along baking sheet then it is too warm and needs to cool slightly before attempting.
Gently apply pressure to baking sheet and use smooth fluid movements to create chocolate curls. Not all scrapes will produce perfect curls, patience is key. Any undesirable curls can be placed back into bain-maire for remelting.
Place curls onto wax or parchment paper.
Step 7: Chill Out
Step 8: Nerd Alert
Chocolate curls add great texture and depth to cakes and other desserts, my personal favourite is on vanilla ice cream. The piped chocolate can be themed to match almost any occasion from spelling out a name for birthday parties to toppers for bridal shower cupcakes.
For the nerds out there how about how about piping out a molecule for your chemistry friends?