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How To: Make Chocolate Shapes

Make any dessert go from ordinary to extraordinary with a chocolate shape garnish. To see the recipe, go to midwestliving.com/recipe/white-christmas-peppermint-layer-cake/.

Make any dessert go from ordinary to extraordinary with a chocolate shape garnish. The best part is, it's easier than you think. Let's start with the chocolate. I'm using chopped dark chocolate because it melts really nicely, but chips will work in a pinch. For white chocolate shapes, candy melts work better than white chocolate. You can buy them at crafts stores. Transfer the chocolate or candy melts to a microwave-safe bowl or a double-boiler. If you're using chocolate, add a little bit of vegetable oil or shortening to help the chocolate harden nicely later. Just a teaspoon will do the trick. Melt the chocolate, and let it cool slightly. Fit a pastry bag with a small tip, or just snip a tiny corner from the edge of a zip-top bag. To fill the bag easily, I like to fold back the top and set it in a glass so I have both hands free. Spoon the chocolate into the bag. Now the fun part starts! Pipe any shape you want on a pan lined with parchment or wax paper. You can do squiggles, hearts, spirals, stars—anything you want! I like to do several extra shapes, just in case some break. If you're nervous about drawing something freehand, draw a quick template on some white paper and slide it underneath the parchment. Let the shapes harden at room temperature, or if you're in a rush, pop the pan in the fridge for about 10 minutes. Now we'll gently lift the shapes off the paper to decorate our dessert! Be careful; they're very fragile. Work quickly so the chocolate doesn't melt. And that's all it takes to make a bakery-style chocolate garnish in your own kitchen.