Califonia Bountiful

Gardening: Turning over a new leaf—of chocolate

Nov./Dec. 2012 California Bountiful magazine

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A friend taught me how to make chocolate leaves years ago, and they never fail to impress guests. They're deceptively easy to make and take almost no time at all, though your guests will think it must have been quite a process.

Choose nonpoisonous leaves like camellia, lemon or rose. (I used camellia leaves.) These leaves work best because they have enough substance to hold the chocolate without breaking or getting limp. Make sure plants have been well watered the night before: You don't want weak or wilted leaves. Pick each leaf so it has its stem attached.

Wash leaves and gently pat dry with a paper towel. Let them dry completely.

Melt 2 or 3 ounces of chocolate in a saucepan over low heat. (I used semisweet chocolate chips.) Stir to keep the chocolate from sticking to the bottom of the pan. You can also use the microwave: Melt the chocolate 10 seconds at a time and stir at each interval until completely melted.

With a pastry brush, spread a thin but generous layer—perhaps 1/8 inch thick—over the back side of the leaf. Be careful to brush the chocolate to the edges.

Place the leaves, chocolate side up, on a wax paper-lined dish and put in the freezer until chocolate is firm.

Grasping the stem end of the leaf, carefully peel the leaf away from the chocolate. Handle them carefully and quickly because the heat from your hands will cause them to melt.

You can make leaves ahead and store them in airtight containers in the freezer, so you always have chocolate leaves on hand for decorating cakes and pies.

Pat Rubin

5 easy steps

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