Edible Decorations - How to Make Chocolate Flowers

Impress the crowd with easy-to-make chocolate flowers.

Put the crowning touch on your baked goods by making delicious chocolate flowers and using them to decorate cupcakes, cakes and other desserts. You'll be the hit of any party or gathering.

Making chocolate flowers requires attention to detail and a bit of patience. But the recipe only uses two ingredients, so it's a cinch.

It All Begins With Clay

The process begins with what chefs call "chocolate plastic" or "chocolate clay," pliable chocolate paste that can be cut, curled and manipulated into an edible work of art. And there are only two ingredients:

-- for dark chocolate flowers, use 16 ounces of semi-sweet chocolate and 2/3 cup of light corn syrup.

-- for milk chocolate or white chocolate flowers, use 16 ounces of semi-sweet chocolate and _ cup of light corn syrup.

Recipe for Chocolate Flowers

1. Cover a cookie sheet with plastic wrap.

2. Chop the chocolate into fine pieces, if you're not using chocolate chips. Place the chips or pieces in a glass or metal bowl.

3. Place the bowl over a pan of boiling water that has just been removed from the heat. Stir the chocolate until it melts, then remove the bowl from the pan and continue to stir the chocolate until it cools slightly.

4. Stir the corn syrup into the chocolate and then use a scraper to remove the paste from the bowl. Allow it to cool until it can be touched.

5. Squeeze any grease from the chocolate clay onto some paper towels.

6. Dust a work surface, preferably a cool countertop, with cocoa powder. Divide the chocolate clay into smaller pieces and pound each with a rolling pin to make it softer and more pliable.

7. Knead each piece of the chocolate clay separately before working with it.

Tips for Handling Chocolate

-- If the chocolate clay becomes too soft from your body heat, let it sit at room temperature for at least 10 minutes. To periodically cool your hands, wrap them around a cold glass.

-- Working on a cool surface, such as a granite, stainless steel or marble countertop, will help keep chocolate cooler during the kneading and sculpting process.

-- When sculpting chocolate flowers, remember to keep your equipment, bowls and utensils moisture free.

Assembling Your Chocolate Flowers

Roll one piece of clay into a small cylinder shape, about the size of a snack-size Tootsie Roll. Make as many of these as you want, depending on the number of chocolate flowers you want. Each of these will be the base of your flower.

Flatten the rest of the chocolate clay to about 1/8 inch in depth and cut out circles about one inch in diameter. You can use a clean bottle cap with the right dimensions as your guide, and a paring knife to cut the circles about the size of a quarter. These will be the petals of your chocolate flowers, and you will need six to 10 petals per flower. Cut leaves out using a cookie cutter or a knife.

Attach each petal to the chocolate base, beginning at the bottom and adding more, working your way up and around the base. Fan the petals out, and squeeze the edges of the petals to thin them out. When you have attached enough petals to make a flower, cut any excess from the top of your base. Add leaves to the bottom of each chocolate flower.

Gently apply the chocolate flowers to the top of your cake or cupcake. If you push down gently, the chocolate flowers will stick to your frosting.

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