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How to make chocolate leaves and how to temper chocolate.



How to Make Chocolate Leaves

These are great fun to make for adults and
children and they make superb decorations for chocolates or
desserts. Real leaves are used so please make sure they are edible.
Small leaves can be fixed to individual chocolates and larger leaves
can be mixed in with chocolates on a serving plate. This looks
particularly attractive if you vary the colours of the leaves. You
could, for example, have a stunning array of coloured
white-chocolate autumn leaves.

1. Using a soft, clean paintbrush, spread a
layer of tempered chocolate (see below) on the underside of a clean,
fresh, dry leaf. The layer should be thick enough to allow it to
come away from the leaf without cracking, when dry. Using the
underside of the leaf will produce clearer veins on your chocolate
leaf.

spreading chocolate on a leaf with a paint brush
 

2. Leave to set for about 20 minutes, then
gently peel away the real leaf from the chocolate.

peeling off chocolate layer from real leaf


3.

The finished chocolate leaf
should have all the markings of the real leaf and look really quite
stunning.



Tempering chocolate –
The table method

This is the classic way of
tempering chocolate but it is hardly used today, as it is very time
consuming and requires a marble bench. It is, however, the most
spectacular way of tempering and is used in demonstrations for that
reason.

1. Melt the quantity of chocolate you need.
Pour approximately two thirds of the melted chocolate onto the
marble.


pouring chocolate onto a marble slab

2. 

Use a large, flexible scraper
(available from DIY shops) to repeatedly pull the chocolate together
and then spread it out. This causes the chocolate to cool quickly
and to thicken. The chocolate now contains a number of ‘seed’
crystals. As the chocolate temperature drops, more crystals form.
You want to get plain chocolate to about 29°C – check this by
putting a tiny piece of the chocolate on your bottom lip. If it
feels cool, it should be ready.

spreading chocolate out on a slab with a scraper

3.

Once you reach the required temperature,
quickly stir in the remaining third of the melted chocolate. This
will melt or stabilize any unstable crystals. If this doesn’t work,
it is possible that there are not enough ‘seed’ crystals in the
first two thirds (for example, if the chocolate hasn’t been cooled
enough) or the remaining third is too hot. Unfortunately, should
this be the case you will have to start all over again. When
tempered, transfer the chocolate to a bowl ready for use.

melted chocolate on a marble slab

The above has been reproduced
from a book called “Auberge
du Chocolat” published by New Holland Publishers.  This
book also contains recipes for a range of dairy-free chocolates and
a collection of chocolates that even the youngest children can help
to make. With chapters on the history of chocolate as well as a
comprehensive section covering ingredients and equipment and
techniques such as melting, making molds and gift-wrapping your
chocolates, this is the perfect book for chocoholics or if you want
to dazzle your friends and family with delicious chocolate gifts.