I have some fun techniques for making a dessert extra special. All you need are chocolate chips and a bit of shortening.
First up, a yummy base for an ice cream sundae, chocolate mousse, or my favorite, fresh berries with a dollop of real whipped cream on top.
HOW TO MAKE CHOCOLATE CUPS
•Melt 1 cup of chocolate and 1 tablespoon shortening in the microwave for thirty second intervals, stirring between, until smooth.
•Using a spoon, “paint” the inside of a foil cupcake liner with the melted chocolate. Ideally the sides and bottom will have less than 1/8” coating, otherwise it is difficult to break apart with a spoon when eating.
•Allow the chocolate cups to dry for about an hour (or refrigerate to speed up the drying process), then peel the foil from the cups carefully.
You can avoid breaking those delicate sides by making sure the layer of chocolate is thick enough. We don’t mind a little imperfection though!
Now that you’ve mastered chocolate cups, make dessert really special.
HOW TO MAKE CHOCOLATE LETTERS AND SHAPES
•Melt ½ cup chocolate chips (shortening isn’t necessary for this) in the microwave at 30 second intervals until smooth.
•Fill an icing bag with the melted chocolate (see below!)
•Print out letters or your desired design. We printed letters for each member of our family in different fonts, and then I doodled a little.
•Place the paper on a cookie sheet (I failed to do this for the photo) so that you can transfer your design to a spot out of the way to dry.
•Tape a piece of wax paper over the paper.
•Grab the bag of chocolate, make sure it is twisted closed, and trace your design with the chocolate. Whatever texture you make with the chocolate is how it will dry, so if you want a smooth appearance, go back over the design with a new artist’s paint brush or a knife.
•For the wispy fonts, I went over the design a couple of times to give it a little extra thickness so I would be able to handle it without the delicate letters breaking.
•Let your designs dry for an hour or so. (Putting the cookie sheet into the fridge speeds up the process.)
•When you’re ready to use them to decorate a dessert with, use a spatula to carefully lift them from the wax paper.
HOW TO FILL AN ICING BAG
Here’s how to fill an icing bag without getting icing or chocolate all over you, the bag and your kitchen!
•Hold the middle of the bag in one hand and fold a few inches of the top over your fingers.
•Using a flexible spatula, scoop up the chocolate and scrape it into the bag.
•Squeeze all the chocolate down toward the tip of the bag, like you would a tube of toothpaste, then twist the top portion closed.
•Snip off a tiny corner from the tip of the bag to squeeze chocolate out.
Fun, right? But why stop there?! Embellish your dessert even more with chocolate shavings and curls!
These are great for jazzing up a cake or cupcakes, or sprinkling around a dessert on each dish. I have tried the vegetable peeler method many a time and this way is so much better!
TO MAKE CHOCOLATE SHAVINGS AND CURLS
•Melt 1 cup chocolate chips in the microwave in 30 second intervals, stirring between, until smooth. Shortening is not needed.
•Spread a very thin layer of the melted chocolate on a rimless cookie sheet, or on the bottom of a cookie sheet with sides like I did below. Place the cookie sheet in the refrigerator until chocolate is dry to the touch.
•The only difference in making curls or shavings is the dryness of the chocolate. If the chocolate is very dry it will shave off into flakes; if it is dry to the touch (not tacky) but still soft, it will curl. If your chocolate is too dry and will only flake, let it come to room temperature for a few minutes before pushing it with a spatula.
•Catch shavings or curls on wax paper that is set up at the end of the cookie sheet.
It’s so fun to get a curl going!
It’s really so much fun to play with melted chocolate – with or without kiddos….and licking the spoon is required of course!