You can have a lot of fun decorating with chocolate, get creative and make beautiful cookies fit for any high tea baby shower.
First step: Melting Chocolate
For best results, coarsely chop chocolate bars and squares before melting them.
Choose one of the following methods to melt your chocolate.
- Direct heat: This method is easy and convenient. Place the chocolate in a heavy saucepan over very low heat, stirring constantly till the chocolate begins to melt. Immediately remove the pan from the heat and stir the chocolate until it is smooth.
- Double boiler: This method takes a little longer than the direct-heat method but eliminates the possibility of scorching the chocolate. Place water in the bottom of the double boiler so the top of the water is 1cm below the upper pan. Then place the double boiler over low heat. Stir the chocolate constantly until it is melted. The water in the bottom of the double boiler should not come to boiling while the chocolate is melting.
- Microwave oven: Place up to 180g of chopped chocolate bars, chocolate squares, or chocolate pieces in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave, uncovered, on high for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes or until chocolate is soft enough to stir smooth. The chocolate will hold its shape after it starts to melt, so stir it once every minute during heating.
- Make sure all equipment is completely dry. Any moisture on the utensils or in the container may cause the chocolate to seize, or stiffen. If this happens, stir in 1/2 to 1 teaspoon shortening (not butter) for every 30g of chocolate.
- Be careful to keep water from splashing into the chocolate. A single drop will cause the chocolate to seize.
- Keep heat low to avoid scorching.
- Always stir chocolate during melting, because most chocolate retains its shape as it melts.
2nd Step: Decorating Options
- To decorate a cutout or sliced cookie or biscotti with chocolate, dip the cookie into the melted mixture. Remove the excess by pulling the cookie across the edge of the pan.
- Adding drizzles of chocolate is an easy way to dress up a cookie. Place cookies on a wire rack over waxed paper. Dip a fork into melted chocolate, and let the first clumpy drip land in the pan. Drizzle chocolate over the edges and tops of cookies.
- For a more controlled drizzle or piping, place melted chocolate in a heavy plastic bag and snip off a tiny piece of one corner so you can use it as a pastry bag. Make the hole larger, if necessary. If the chocolate starts to stiffen as you work, heat the bag in the microwave for 10 to 15 seconds.
- For an added touch dip the chocolate covered cookies in sprinkles, coconut or crushed nuts.
- For any of the above options add a different twist by colouring white chocolate with food colouring.