Billions of dollars are now spent each year on chocolate and the average American eats 12 pounds yearly. There are many options and endless ideas for the use of chocolate – all of which are delicious!
Studio 5 Contributor Alisa Bangerter shares a few ideas.
CHOCOLATE COOKIE LOLLIPOPS
Double Stuff creme filled sandwich cookies (Oreos brand cookies with twice the filling)
Seasonal candies, candy sprinkles, chopped nuts, coconut, etc.
Melt chocolate over low heat in a double boiler (or microwave on low). Carefully open cookies and cut a notch out of the creme filling for the lollipop sticks to fit into. Dip end of lollipop sticks into chocolate and insert a stick into each notch. Put the cookies back together. (A tiny bit of chocolate may be needed on the creme filling to help cookies stick back together well.) Let set until chocolate is firm.
Holding the lollipop stick, gently dip cookie into the melted chocolate. Use a knife to help spread the chocolate over the entire cookie. Immediately dip lollipop partially in candy sprinkles, nuts, or coconut. Seasonal candies also look cute on the center of each lollipop. (Try conversation hearts, frosted animal cookies, M&M brand candies, small molded chocolates, etc.) Lay onto waxed paper to set.
Place lollipops into small plastic lollipop bags or wrap with plastic wrap. Tie with ribbons, jute, or raffia. Decorate for any holiday. Makes a great gift or favor!
OTHER CHOCOLATE IDEAS:
• Grocery stores offer a variety and flavors of chocolate chips, baking chocolate and almond bark. Fine chocolate can be purchased at specialty baking supply stores. Almond bark is very easy to use and is a good choice when doing chocolate projects with children.
• To thin melted chocolate, use shortening – never water. If you add water to melted chocolate it will cause it to clump. Melted chocolate can be drizzled over desserts or on plates to create a perfect finishing touch.
• Place melted chocolate in a pastry bag and draw designs on wax paper. Let set up and use to garnish ice cream or other desserts. Try simple shapes, initials or even words. A pattern that is printed or drawn on paper can be placed under the wax paper to be used as a guide.
• Brush melted chocolate around the inside of paper baking cups and let set up. Peel off paper baking cups from hardened chocolate and discard. Fill the chocolate cups with items such as pudding or mousse. Cups can also be filled with candies or nuts and used as favors.
• Use melted chocolate to dip crackers, cookies (fortune cookies are fun), fruit, pieces of cake, candies, pretzels, marshmallows, etc. Sprinkle nuts or candy sprinkles on the dipped chocolate pieces. Everything tastes better dipped in chocolate!
• A great way to use up melted chocolate after a project is to add nuts, small candies, chow mein noodles, dried fruits or cereal and stir to coat. Drop onto wax paper and let set up for a quick treat.
• Spread a thin coat of melted chocolate on wax paper or a Silpat baking mat. Let set up. Break apart in large random chunks and attach to the sides or tops of cakes. Chocolate curls can be made by gently rolling the chocolate up in strips using a metal pancake turner or spatula.
• Use a vegetable peeler to shave chocolate curls from a large bar of chocolate.
• Brush a coat of chocolate on the back of non-toxic leaves and let set up. Peel away leaves to reveal chocolate leaves. Use to garnish desserts.
• Place a metal cookie cutter on a flat baking sheet lined with wax paper. Pour melted chocolate into the cookie cutter and sprinkle with candies or nuts. Let set up until chocolate is hard. Wrap with cellophane and a ribbon for a fun favor or gift. These are really cute for a Valentine.
• Sprinkle chopped chocolate or chocolate chips in cake batter, muffins, pancake or waffle batter, etc. or sprinkle in between layers when frosting a cake.
• Tempering chocolate is a process of heating and cooling chocolate to help it create a glossy sheen. Tempering is used especially when the chocolate is to be used for dipping. For more information and a for a great instructional video on tempering chocolate go to www.ghirardelli.com (Click on bake with us then working with chocolate then the video for tempering chocolate.)
(Ideas from the book Sweet Surprises for the Holidays by Alisa Bangerter and Mella Bedell)