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How to create chocolate garnishes to rival any gourmet confection you could buy

If you think you can’t make gold-painted sails and medallions in minutes, you just haven’t seen how easy it is.

If you think you can’t make gold-painted sails and medallions in minutes, you just haven’t seen how easy it is

You may think you're not very skilled in the kitchen, but you are just two or three tips and tricks away from making chocolate garnishes to that will make your homemade cake look like it was made by a pastry pro.

Watch this tutorial by, who else, sugar maven, Arlene Lott. Seeing how easily these come together — and how quickly — will have you making chocolate accents for everything from your party fruit platter to your solo bowl of ice cream. To make them to top Arlene's favourite vanilla cake, use her recipe.

If you think you can’t make gold-painted sails and medallions in minutes, you just haven’t seen how easy it is. 8:23

Chocolate Medallions 

A really popular trend in plating food is this sort of "stamping" method with purées or sauces. I like to use this same kind of method for making chocolate medallions.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup chocolate chips (white or dark)

Tools:

  • Glass bowl for melting chocolate
  • Rubber spatula, for stirring
  • Small glass or jar or coaster with a wide, flat bottom
  • Cookie sheet (or use a baking sheet)
  • Parchment paper cut to size of cookie sheet
  • Edible glitter/lustre dust, (optional)
  • Edible paint, paintbrush, (optional) 

Melt the chocolate in a glass bowl over a double boiler, stir with a rubber spatula, then set it aside to cool a little; when it's around body temperature, it will behave well, so stir and touch your hand to the outside to gauge the temperature before proceeding.

Place a small dollop of chocolate on each corner of the cookie sheet before laying the parchment paper on top, to secure it in place. Then place dollops of chocolate onto the top of the parchment paper, leaving some room for spreading. Place the flat glass bottom on top of each dollop and lift it up to create your textured medallion; the more texture, the better. If the melted chocolate sets up too quickly in the bowl, warm it up again and proceed.

Set the medallions aside to cool and set, then peel them off and add to the top of a tart, cup of mousse or around a cake. Or, decorate them with edible glitter or lustre dusts available at baking shops, or paint them with edible paint (see video for techniques).

Marbled shapes

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup chocolate candy melts
  • ½ cup white candy melts

Tools:

  • 2 glass bowls (1 for each colour)
  • 2 small rubber spatulas for stirring chocolate
  • 1 extra large plastic freezer bag
  • Rolling pin or wide spatula
  • Diamond shaped cookie cutters

Place each colour of candy melts in separate glass bowls and warm in the microwave for 30 seconds at a time, giving them each a stir with separate small spatulas, until smooth. Alternatively, warm gently over a double boiler on the stove top.

Cut the freezer bag down the sides (only) and open it up like a book — place it on a cookie sheet or on a smooth counter. Take a generous scoop of the chocolate melted candy and spread it to about a ⅛" thickness on one half of the plastic. Don't go all the way to the edge as you'll be pressing this out a little more. Drizzle the white melted candy randomly over top. 

Take the other half of your freezer bag and fold it back over the candy. Smooth it out with a rolling pin, wide spatula (or even your hand). Aim for the thickness of a credit card — a couple of millimetres.  

Press the cookie cutter down firmly onto the plastic; wiggle it while pressing down to the other side. (When you lift it up, you should see the cookie sheet or countertop through the outline of the cutter.) Continue to cut out as many diamonds as you would like. Set aside to set up: they will set up quickly in the fridge, or in about 15 minutes on the counter at room temperature. 

When the shapes are set, peel back the top piece of plastic, then push from underneath with your hand to pop the shapes out. Add the decorations to you cake, pastry or pudding.

Chocolate sails 

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup chocolate chips or candy melts

Tools:

  • Glass bowl for melting chocolate
  • Rubber spatula, for stirring
  • 1 clear acetate sheet (available at art and crafts stores)
  • Offset spatula to spread chocolate
  • Large and small drinking glasses to place the chocolate in to set

Melt the chocolate in a glass bowl over a double boiler, stir with a rubber spatula, then set it aside to cool a little.

Cut out simple leaf shapes (oblong shapes that are pointed at each end) from the acetate and place them on a cookie sheet. Spoon a little chocolate onto the cutouts and smooth the chocolate out to the edges (beyond the edges is fine) with the offset spatula. 

Lift out the covered shapes, and lay them, curled and plain-side down, inside the glasses (one per glass). Allow them to set and take on the curve of the glass, which will take about 15 minutes at room temperature or five minutes in the fridge. When set, slide them out from the glasses and peel off the acetate.

You will be left glossy, curled chocolate 'sails' which you can use as they are to decorate a cake. If you'd like, feel free to paint the sails with edible food sprays or dust with edible glitter.

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