Chocolate curls are surprisingly easy to make, and will positively make your pies and cakes and kitchen counter look six hundred times fancier.

Though I’ve gotten better about it over the years, I admit that when it comes to food blogging, I’m often guilty of skimping on the details. Those torturous woulda-shoulda’s are some of the many (, many) things that keep me up at night: I should have iced that cake more intricately; I should’ve waited for the mid-afternoon sunlight to photograph that dish; that sentence could’ve been worded more eloquently.

There are definitely times when I just say “screw it” and eat the dang cinnamon buns before the coffee gets cold and I make everyone miserable hemming and hawing over my digital camera. Honestly, I think that’s often a really healthy approach. Still, over the years I’ve found that sometimes, if you just stick to it and push through those last 15 minutes of painstaking finishing touches, it makes all the difference. I really admire bakers and bloggers who always go the extra mile for food presentation — I wish your patience came naturally to me!

If you’re one of the aforementioned decorating whizzes, you probably already know how to make chocolate curls. But if you’re a first-timer, you’ll appreciate that this is one decoration that doesn’t require a lot of skill or effort, and still looks beautiful. Just be sure to read through the instructions before you start.

Stay tuned tomorrow to see these chocolate curls in action!

 

Chocolate Curls
Prep time: 
Total time: 
 
Ingredients
  • at least 8 ounces vegan chocolate, chopped finely
  • 1 tsp shortening for every 2 ounces of chocolate
  • 1 cookie sheet that’s completely smooth and flat on the bottom
  • 1 straight, thin-edged metal spatula
  • parchment paper
Instructions
  1. In a double-boiler over low heat, melt together chocolate and shortening until smooth, stirring frequently.
  2. Flip cookie sheet upside down.
  3. Pour chocolate onto cookie sheet.
  4. Using a spatula, spread chocolate into an even layer about ⅛” to ¼” thick (very thin, but not a nearly-transparent film).
  5. Set aside until firm, but not fully set. Check to see if chocolate is ready by touching it gently. If your finger leaves an impression, it needs more time to harden; if it’s ready, you’ll barely leave a mark. (If you let it harden too long, the chocolate will break into flakes rather than curling.)
  6. Hold spatula at a 45 degree angle to your pan and firmly and steadily push spatula down the back of the pan so the chocolate curls.
  7. You can vary the length of the curls by just using a corner of the spatula; alter the thickness of the curls by pushing the spatula for longer or shorter distances.
  8. As you work, using a toothpick (or your hands), gently transfer curls to a plate or pan lined with parchment paper.
  9. Set aside to harden fully.
  10. If you won’t be using the curls immediately, you can store the hardened curls in an airtight bag or container in your freezer.
Notes
Be sure to scrape your cookie sheet clean when you’re finished; you can remelt the leftover chocolate.
And for the love of fair trade chocolate, don’t be discouraged if your curls don’t turn out perfectly the first time. Chocolate shavings make for a totally gorgeous garnish, too!