Monday, December 13, 2010

How to make Chocolate Curls

Despite what you might think, chocolate curls are one of the easiest and quickest things to throw together to decorate a cake, cupcakes, pie, or any other dessert you can come up with! Here's the easy step-by-step version:

Place 3 ounces of chocolate in a microwave safe bowl and microwave on high for 30 seconds. Stir chocolate and put in for another 20 seconds and stir again until chocolate is smooth and creamy. Grab a metal cooking sheet, turn it upside down, and pour the melted chocolate on. With a flat spatula (or a knife) spread the chocolate into a thin layer. Stick it in the freezer for a few minutes. Get a sharp-edged spatula and begin to scrape the chocolate from the pan. When the chocolate is at the right temperature it will begin to curl instead of break. If it does break off into little pieces, simply wait a few minutes for the chocolate to soften and try again. Scrape along the bottom of the pan until it is all in beautiful curls! Store in the freezer in a Ziploc bag until you need them. So simple, but so fancy!!

The BEST Frosting Recipe

So not to offend anyone, but I abhor the greasy, sugary taste and texture of buttercream frosting.. I know, I know-I'm a horrible person, but I really do. So when I saw this recipe that didn't require any powdered sugar, I knew it would be amazing. If you haven't seen the new frosting-with-flour craze that's swept across cooking blogs, then here it is! I made the chocolate version and put it on a chocolate-raspberry cake I made for my work Christmas party yesterday and I promise you that cake was gone by the end of the day. But just to give you a heads-up: this frosting takes a LONG time to make. Unlike the quick throw-it-in and whip-it-up version of regular frosting, this one requires boiling, cooling, and mixing that took me about 2 hours to make. But I promise you it is completely worth it! Trust Merideth on this one.. I know you'll love it!! (Picture courtesy of Taste of Home- I forgot to take a picture of the cake I made, but it looked just like this one with the raspberries, chocolate curls, and mint leaves- presentation is everything! :) )

*Makes about 4 cups of frosting- plenty for two 9-inch cake layers

  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 Tbsp. cornstarch
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 24 Tbsp. (3 sticks) butter, softened to room temperature.

In a medium bowl, combine the sugar, flour, cornstarch and salt. Slowly whisk in the milk until the mixture is smooth. Place a fine-mesh strainer over a medium saucepan and pour the milk mixture through the strainer into the saucepan. Cook the mixture over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture boils and is thick enough that it becomes difficult to stir with a whisk (5-10 minutes). It should bubble quite a bit at the end and thicken considerably.

Transfer the mixture to a clean bowl and cool to room temperature - this is extremely important! If it is even slightly warm it will not mix with the butter well and won't turn out correctly. I stuck mine in the refrigerator for an hour and then took it out and allowed it to return to room temperature again.

Once the mixture is completely cooled to room temperature, beat the frosting with the vanilla on low-speed until it is well combined, about 30 seconds. Cut up the butter into small pieces and add, one piece at a time, until completely combined - about 2 minutes. Increase the speed to medium-high and whip the frosting for 5 minutes- until it is light and fluffy. Let the frosting sit at room temperature until it is a bit more stiff- about an hour.

Chocolate Version: Add 1/4 cup cocoa powder to the sugar, flour, cornstarch and salt in the first step. Optional: Once the frosting has been whipped for 5 minutes, slowly pour in 3 ounces of chocolate that has been melted and cooled to room temperature.