Tempering is a careful process of melting and cooling chocolate for the perfect consistency. Hardened tempered chocolate has a shiny gloss that can work well for chocolate and pastry decorations. It is also used for dipping centres, moulding chocolates and dipping truffles. Tempered chocolate can be used for a wide variety of cake decorations.
To make chocolate bows, you must cut and lay out strips of acetate to the desired length and size. Pour and spread tempered chocolate onto them. Let it set partially or cloud up, then bend into a loop for your bow. Fasten the ends together with a paper clip. Do this with several other strips to make a full, round bow. Once you let the chocolate set completely, peel off the acetate. Chocolate bows can be of any size and can be used as a presentation on top of a chocolate mousse or any other cake.
Either tempered chocolate or melted chocolate can be used for chocolate curls, or chocolate cigarettes. For cigarettes, spread the chocolate long and thin on a smooth stone slab. Let it set almost completely, but not to the point of complete hardness. You can rub the chocolate with the palm of your hand if it gets too hard. Start with an angled razor on one end and push forward, letting the chocolate curl up as you go.
Pour the tempered chocolate over a sheet of acetate. Let it set partially to the point of clouding over. Use a metal razor to cut out a specific pattern of your choosing; you may also warm the razor a bit for easier cutting. Do not remove the cut-outs at this point, but let set completely. You can also use multiple colours of tempered chocolate for more festive designs.
Chocolate Fans and Strips
Fans and strips are generally used to accent the sides and tops of cakes and pastries. Warm a sheet pan in the oven for about four minutes at 191 degrees Celsius. Turn it upside-down and spread a thin layer of chocolate onto it. Let stand until it gets cloudy and let it set in the fridge. Use a scraper to cut the chocolate from the pan into a strip of desired size. To make fans, hold one end of the scraper and push with the other so that the scraper rotates. This way, the strip of chocolate bunches on one side to make a fan.
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