Here is the lovely Kim (and me) at my Baton Rouge class I taught with Jen Dontz.
Not to mention that the SugarEd girls also listen to my non stop brainstorming, obscessing and generally constantly asking for advice. I honestly do not know what I would do without the help of my team. They are so good to me, and I do not deserve them. (You will meet more of them later.)
Here is a sheet protector on the counter with spacer strips on each side. These are called perfection strips and you can get them at Country Kitchen Sweet Art. They make sure you get the chocolate level all the way across your field. I placed them on the thinner sides and I think the chocolate was about 1/4 inch think, but do not quote me on that.
You melt your chocolate (I used candy coating cuz I am not about to temper anything in this life time) and pour it out on the sheet. Use a food grade ruler to spread the chocolate out, resting it on the spacer bars to make sure the chocolate is spread out evenly along the sheet. I could not take a picture of me doing this, because it took 2 hands to do it, and no one was here to take the pictures for me. Ah, such is the life of a lonely baker.....
Now go get a Diet Coke from the gas station soda fountain (because they have the perfect balance of carbonation and syrup), and wait for the chocolate to set up. You have to wait for the surface to turn dull and firm. If you tap it lightly with your finger you will not mark it, but if you press firmly you will. It will still be slightly warm to the touch. How long will this take? It depends upon how cool your room is, how hot the lights are, how fresh your chocolate is. I had my portable A/C on in my cake room (his name is Jack and I love him so) so it set up in probably 15-20 minutes.
Then take your cookie cutter (which I also failed to take a picture of) and cut into the chocolate. If it makes a nice clean cut, you are doing fine. If the edges of the cut are kind of squooshy, it is not ready yet. Press it hard so you cut all the way down to the bottom. If you are using crappy cheap chocolate like in this picture, it might be hard to get the cutter out. (Yes, I can say crappy . This is my blog and I can say it. Gotta love that. (Wink.) Hence all the fingerprints on the chocolate. I actually ended up doing these again a few days later when my good Merkens chocolate came in and it was clean and beautiful. The cutters came right out. No finger prints. It is amazing what a difference a good vs bad product can make. Again, I was only taking these pics to send to Kim (she is so needy, sheesh), and not expecting to use them on a blog tutorial, so I did not take pics with the good chocolate. Let's just pretend this one looks pretty, kay?
Now, go to the gas station and get a refill on your Diet Coke. Yes, I drink that much Diet Coke. Doesn't everyone? Then get on the computer and IM with your buddies for a while until the chocolate sets up nice and firm and is totally cooled off. I guess you could do other things like clean the kitchen or help your kid with homework, if you are into that sort of thing. (J/K, I do those things too.)
Then take the cutters and go back in again, into the same cuts, to make sure the bottom is cut all the way through. I found that if I did not do this, the underneath side had kind of melded back together and the pieces would not break off clean. Now transfer the sheet to a cardboard and score the chocolate around the blossoms with a sharp knife. Pop that in the freezer for 6-9 minutes until set up totally. The blossoms will just pop right out perfectly clean with beautiful edges. Do not touch the tops or you will get finger marks. Let them sit at room temp, and all condensation must dry before you work with them again.
I did the exact same thing with the white chocolate to make the circle discs. Merkens, not the crappy stuff. Attach the 2 pieces together with some chocolate and pipe the monogram with royal icing. I used a clay gun to make the pink string border. The party theme was pink, brown and white, so I wanted to get all 3 colors in there. So here is the finished product. They were about 3.5 inches in diameter.
And just for fun, here is a pic of the coordinating cookie favors. Sugar cookies with textured fondant, candy pearls and luster dust. Tracy loved them. Hmm, I wonder if their cake was dry.
OK class, your homework assignment is to go make some cute chocolate cut out thingies. Email me the pictures of your creations and I will post them here.
or should I say Happy Chocolating
or Happy Chocolatiering
Happy ......um...... Messing with Chocolate