Annegret Henninger has worked and trained in some of Europe’s top Michelin-starred restaurants and is currently a pastry chef with the Thompson Hotel Group in Toronto. She regularly creates masterpieces with chocolate. Here, she explains the easiest way to make some of your own at home.
- Start by printing or freehand drawing a few pictures of shapes you’d like to recreate with chocolate. Some ideas: basic flowers, swirls or hearts.
- Place a baking sheet in the freezer to chill for later, and then chop 2 bars (200 g) of Excellence 70% Cacao Dark Chocolate or 78% Cacao Dark Chocolate. Melt in a heat-proof, microwave-safe bowl in short spurts using the microwave. Or, place a few inches of water in a saucepan on the stove, and once boiling, take the pot off the heat and place a dry bowl with the chopped chocolate onto the saucepan, ensuring it fits tightly and doesn’t allow any steam to escape. Stir frequently and allow the chocolate to melt gently.
- Allow the chocolate to cool slightly before adding a few drops of water or alcohol (such as Schnapps) to achieve a thin, smooth texture. It is very important to allow the chocolate to cool, or adding the liquid can cause it to seize. For 2 bars (200 g) of Excellence Dark Chocolate, expect to use around 5 to 10 drops. Add a few at a time, until you achieve the ideal viscosity. The ultimate test: create a figure eight with the chocolate (dripping it in a stream off a spoon). If the figure holds its shape on the surface of the melted chocolate, you’re ready to move on.
- Create a cornet (a piping bag made from a triangle of parchment paper) and snip a tiny hole in order to pipe the chocolate. Alternatively, you can use a squeeze bottle that allows you to cut your own small hole.
Working quickly (you have about 10 minutes to complete the whole process), load your chocolate into your cornet or squeeze bottle.
- Retrieve your chilled baking sheet. Line the baking sheet with parchment paper, and place your prepared templates under the parchment paper to use as a stencil. Trace with your chocolate—be prepared to practice a few times before getting your handiwork just right!
- Once finished, place your baking sheet back into the fridge for at least an hour or overnight.