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How to make chocolate garnishes

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Chocolate is great on it's own, but chocolate garnishes? Now we're talking!
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!
 
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Step 1: Ingredients + equipment

To make your own chocolate garnishes you only need a few things you probably have at home, and of course some chocolate!

ingredients:

  • chocolate wafers (dark, milk, or white)




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equipment:

  • saucepan
  • heatproof mixing bowl
  • icing knife
  • flat baking sheet
  • heatproof spatula
  • wax or parchment paper

Step 2: Temper chocolate

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Tempering chocolate is a controlled heating of the chocolate which stabilize the fat crystals, this gives the chocolate a shiny finish and has a satisfying *snap* when it's broken. Tempering is easy, and we need to melt our wafers anyway.

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
Tempering isn't hard, but effort needs to be taken for chocolate perfection. For full details on how to temper chocolate check out the Instructable: how to temper chocolate.

Step 3: Piping chocolate

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To pipe chocolate you'll need a piping bag. these can be bough from the store, but are easily made by hand with wax paper. Your piping bag may take a few tries to get right, but once you've mastered it you'll be knocking them out in no time.

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

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After your tempered chocolate has cooled slightly, gently spoon into piping bag. Make sure the chocolate isn't too hot, you may burn your hands. If your chocolate becomes too hard, simple reheat on bain-marie.

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

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Piping chocolate is a great way to make almost any shape you can think of, you can freehand random shapes like overlapping circles or create an even waffle pattern. You can also pipe the chocolate into recognizable silhouettes, like dinosaurs and ninjas!
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

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To make chocolate curls, find a smooth baking or cookie sheet and turn it upside down.

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

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Once you've made your chocolate garnishes it time for them to rest in the refrigerator to firm up.


Step 8: Nerd alert

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Once your chocolate garnishes have had a chance to firm up, it's time to add them to your decadent dessert.

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? 
A digital patch and a 3-month Pro membership will be awarded to the first person who correctly names the molecule shown in the picture. The molecule shown in the picture was correctly guessed by ChrysN as theobromine!

Wouldn't it be easier to get curls by just using a sharp knife to shave a bar(or brick) of chocolate? As for the shapes, the more artistically minded can add details with white chocolate and maybe adding food coloring to some of the white chocolate.

YUMMY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
ChrysN4 years ago
The molecule is: Theobromine.

The dinosaurs look really cool!
mikeasaurus (author)  ChrysN4 years ago
Thanks, they were fun to make.

You're right, theobromine is the molecule. Patched!
I am voteing
build524 years ago
I notice the spoon in the back round pretty cool were did you get it
mikeasaurus (author)  build524 years ago
Thanks, I made it!
Yeah I saw that after I posted the comment
Love the dinosaurs! Awesome work! I've also done striped curls by piping alternating lines of white and dark chocolate - looks really cool as well.
mikeasaurus (author)  shesparticular4 years ago
I don't know why I didn't think of that, what a great idea!
instruct394 years ago
tasty!