We haven’t done any chocolate work in a while, and it just so happened that I need to do a little chocolate work at the hotel this week, so today we’re making a fun decoration that looks a lot harder to do than it is. If you are new to chocolate work, I humbly suggest reading my posts science of cocoa butter and chocolate tempering to get familiarized with tempering.
For a list of basic chocolate work equipment, see my list under the method notes for the chocolate ring décor post. I have links to everything you need, and explanations of why you might need it.
I’ve said it before: chocolate work is 50% making decorations and 50% managing the chocolate to keep it in temper and cleaning. Chocolate can get everywhere fast, so it’s important to get in the habit of working through a step in the method then taking a few seconds to tidy up and check the temper on your chocolate before moving to the next step. Obviously anything time sensitive needs to be addressed right away – setting chocolate waits for no one – but when you have the gap in time spend it wiping down your tools and arranging your work space back in order, not texting your boo.
Gather all of the tools and equipment you need before getting started with any chocolate. The last thing you want to do is have well tempered chocolate ready to go and then have to scramble around to find that one tool you forgot.
Gather all of the materials you need to make your decoration:
1 offset spatula for tempering chocolate
1 chocolate scraper for tempering chocolate
1 thermometer for tempering chocolate
1 3”x24” pvc tube
1 scaling container or small bowl
1 piece of acetate cut to the appropriate length substitute with parchment paper
1 beater paring knife*
1 small paintbrush
white chocolate Guittard Creme Francais 31%
*This is a special type of paring knife that I beat the crap out of, and that makes it perfect for chocolate!
Temper your chocolate and hold it in a tall scaling container.
Dip your pairing knife into the chocolate halfway up the blade, and scrape the excess chocolate off of the spine of the knife.
Rock the knife down onto the acetate and back up, both with light pressure.
Too much pressure will push the chocolate out to either side of the knife blade and not create the proper vacuum needed to make a thick “spine” down the center of the chocolate.
Allow the chocolate to begin to set (1-2min.), and use the toothpick to strike random lines on either side of each feather.
Place the sheet of acetate inside of the pvc pipe (with the chocolate facing up) and allow it to fully set (place the pvc pipe in the cooler for 5min. to help the chocolate set). If you’d like your feathers to set with a more subtle curve, place them on a sheet pan to set instead.
Remove the acetate sheet from inside the pvc.
Using tempered white chocolate and the paintbrush, gently brush chocolate on each feather to create a feather texture effect. The coarser the bristles of the brush, the more defined the pattern will be.
Allow the chocolate to fully set and use the décor as your heart desires.
Cheers – Chef Scott