July 25, 2011

Chocolate cups

I love the idea of making edible things to dress-up or hold our desserts like the lace cookies or tuiles, for instance.  When I order a dessert at a restaurant, I love the little chocolate garnish or piece of brittle on top of a slice of cake or tart.  It's a nice presentation and makes the dessert just a bit more special.  And I think desserts are special and something to be savored.

At home, I'm looking for simple and quick ways to dress up the ordinary.  I don't have the skills or time to do anything too fancy.  So how about just making some chocolate cups to hold your ice cream next time you scoop some for your kids or yourself.  Or they could be used to hold some chocolate mousse or summer fruit with a little whipped cream.  They're fun to make and eat, and I'm a fan of any way of adding even more chocolate onto the plate.  I also love that crisp texture of the little chocolate cups against the smooth ice cream in this case.
These don't take long to make and all you need is some bittersweet chocolate.  This was my first attempt and it worked out fairly well.  My son loved it and that's always a good thing in my book.

You don't really need a recipe for making these cute little chocolate cups.  It's all a matter of melting some chocolate and "painting" them onto some cupcake liners and peeling the paper away.  But here's how it goes...

To make about 4 of these cups, you'll need 2 ounces of bittersweet chocolate, paper cupcake liners, and a clean brush.  Using a cupcake/muffin tin is very handy since it holds the liners firmly in place when you coat it with chocolate.

I started by melting 2 ounces of chocolate (I figured that looked about enough to make 4-6 chocolate cups and it turned out to be 4) over some simmering water.  Place the chocolate into a small bowl and "paint" the paper liners.  Start with the bottom and then up the sides, just turning the paper liners as you go.  We are going to coat it with 2 layers of chocolate but cover the paper cups generously since they are much easier to remove when they're thick. 
Place the muffin tin in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes.  Then, apply a second layer.  Again, we need them to be thick enough to remove from the liners.  Refrigerate for another 30 minutes.  To remove, gently but fairly quickly peel the paper away from the chocolate cup.  If they start to melt a little (given this hot weather) while you're removing them, just pop them back in the fridge a few minutes.  I was actually removing them in the refrigerator.
There you have it!  For my first attempt, I fairly easily removed 3 out of the 4 cups.  I gave up on one - it was a bit thin and was breaking apart on me.  I was also impatient and didn't have them in the refrigerator that long so that didn't help.  But never fear since there's no wastage here.  I just broke the pieces up from the last cup and used it as an additional garnish.  My six-year old loved his ice cream "cupcake."  Since this is the season of ice cream, I'm using that here but I could see these filled with chocolate mousse or some fresh berries.  Alternatively, you could also make these in mini cupcake liners - it'll look like a peanut butter cup and you could even fill it with a bit of that. 

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