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Now that you have your cookies baked, there are many options for decorating. For a sophisticated, elegant cookie collection, Chef Lisa shares her tips to decorating with chocolate.

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Chocolate Dipping tips:

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1- Melting/ Tempering

Using a clean metal bowl, larger than the mouth of your pot, place it on top of a pot of boiling water to melt your chocolate according to these temperatures:

Heat all chocolate to 115-120 degrees

once the chocolate is completely melted, bring the temp down to:

82-84 degrees for White Chocolate

88-89 degrees for Dark Chocolate

86-87 degrees for Milk Chocolate

Make sure to hold the chocolate at this temp during the time you will be using it.

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2- Dipping

To prevent excess chocolate on your cookies from dripping and pooling on the parchment, use a second metal bowl, a clean rubber band and a long straight kitchen implement, like a bamboo or metal skewer. Stretch the band across the bowl, making sure it is centered and won't spring off. Secure the skewer by tucking it under the band and sliding both ends across the bowl lip. Place the bowl on the hot water pot (with burner off) and transfer pre-melted chocolate. Now as you dip you can gently scrape the bottom edge of the cookie along the skewer, removing the excess chocolate.

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To apply sprinkles without spilling too much excess, pour a small amount into the palm of your hand and use your fingers to pinch and apply the sprinkles to the melted chocolate.IMG_0381

3- For a better, less-mess drizzle:

Hold your cookie over the bowl of melted chocolte. With a silicone spatula, scoop a small amount of chocolate onto the blade and tip it slightly to begin the 'flow' of the chocolate. In quick uniform back and forth motions, move from one side of the cookie to the other, making sure to stop and start just past the cookie edge.

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Place dipped and decorated cookies in the freezer for a few minutes to get the chocolate to harden.

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So it's chocolate week at Allen & Petersen, and in honor of the occasion and Mother's Day coming up, I thought it would be 'fun' to make my own Passion Fruit Bon Bons! We just got all the needed supplies into the kitchen store- Belgian chocolate callets, chocolate molds, luster dust, etc. So I geared up and dove in. Please note, I am a novice. I have no experience, no training, and truthfully, no skills. In fact, I am more qualified to be a Mouseketeer than a chocolatier- and I had no idea what an adventure it was about to be! It began with the chocolate melting.

Callebaut Dark Semi Sweet Chocolate

I used a double boiler method with a glass bowl over hot water and followed the steps to temper the chocolate. In retrospect, I would have been more aware of the process because my one pound of melted chocolate suddenly became two as I tried to lower the temperature of the chocolate in the bowl by adding unmelted callets. With all that chocolate ready to go, I suddenly realized that it would have been a good idea to purchase more than one mold- it turns out it's not like making cookies where once one batch is out of the oven another can go in, etc. There's more time involved in each 'batch' as the chocolate cools.

I had prepared THE mold by washing it and allowing it to thoroughly dry, then brushing each cavity with a lovely pink luster dust.  Next I filled each with a healthy scoop of chocolate- again, a little too much chocolate.

Next time I would start with less, maybe even use a drizzle spoon, because the next step is to turn the mold over and shake the excess chocolate on to a sheet of wax paper or silicone mat, leaving a nice fill-able shell.

However, with too much excess my edges became a little messy, which affected the finished product and made my Bon Bons a little wobbly on their bottoms. Next came the filling. I had made a lovely Passion Fruit Ganache with fresh pulp I brought back from my Aunt's garden in Hawaii- yummy!

I thought it would be a good idea to pipe it into the cooled shells, but once again, I over filled and so some of my Bon Bons were more like Bon Balls once I added a 'cap' of chocolate to seal in the filling. Here again, the edges were overflowing, so once the chocolate cooled and the Bon Bons popped out, their edges needed quite a bit of trimming. So really, temperance is just as important as the tempering!

I just used a super sharp knife blade to trim them up, and nestled each one into a pretty cupcake liner that I had turned inside out. I love how the luster dust shines on the top, in fact that would be the one thing I would use more of next time.

Into the boxes they go! Just right for gifting. Now the only question is what to do with the rest of that chocolate?....

Want to learn more about chocolate? Keep an eye on our Cooking School Schedule for the Chocolate Workshop, Fondue Family Fun and other delicious opportunities for your own adventures in and with CHOCOLATE!