Friday, March 27, 2009

Chocolate Leaves

Our preschool age granddaughters have already begun to express a love for gardening. The oldest brought me apple seeds to plant with her in our yard and we have been rooting avocado (“our Mom loves avocados”) seeds in the window for a couple of weeks. With several family birthdays this month I thought it would be fun to make Chocolate (“our Mom loves chocolate”) Leaves to decorate the cakes.

I had seen this in a Traditional Home magazine article in 2000 (this Grandmother never throws away a good article) about what chefs, Debbie Gold and Michael Smith, teach their children. It is fun and easy to do with children. It is easier and cleaner to do alone.

You will need:

Baking chocolate—the higher the quality the easier it is to work with
Lemon or rose leaves—these can be purchased
Pastry brush (one for each child recommended).

1) Melt the baking chocolate.

2) With the pastry brush, paint the veined side of the leaf with 2 or 3 layers. Chill briefly after each layer to harden.

3) Carefully peel leaf from chocolate by grasping stem end of leaf and pulling it back. You may need to use the point of a sharp knife to get it started. This step is best left to adults.
One hint is to work in a cool area and chill hands in cold water to make handling the chocolate easier. It melts and breaks easily.

You can make these ahead and keep in covered container in the freezer almost indefinitely. Add them to cakes, cheesecakes or even top of pudding. In these pictures, we tried making them with silk grape leaves, but it is not quite the same. I’d also suggest using a simple shaped leaf. Enjoy.

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