DECORATING WITH CHOCOLATE
Set several paper cases inside each other to help keep the shape of the inside cup you are going to coat or find very firm cups. Spoon some melted chocolate that has cooled to blood heat into the cup using a brush or small spoon. Make a second layer when it has set if it looks to thin. Keep refrigerated until set and ready to use. Peel the paper off when set. If you want a slightly wider cup splay the edges before coating.
Cover small, well scrubbed scallop shells as smoothly as possible with cling film. Melt 40g of chocolate per shell and brush an even layer over them. Leave to set for 30 minutes and then chill for a further 30 minutes.
To make four baskets, melt 175g of chocolate with 1 teaspoon of oil. Place two layers of white tissue paper [ not paper tissues] approx 14 inches square on a flat surface. Using a spatula, spread the chocolate in a thin layer over the paper leaving a 1 inch border around the edge. Use the border to hold down the paper while you spread the chocolate. When the chocolate is slightly set but still warm, cut the chocolate into approx four 6 inch squares. Discard the extra bottom paper and drape each chocolate covered paper square over a up turned glass to make a basket. Leave the baskets to set for 30 minutes and then refrigerate for another 30 minutes before you remove the paper.
Pour melted chocolate into a baking parchment piping bag. Cut a tiny hole in the tip of the bag, squeeze gently and pipe out designs or words or drizzle the chocolate over the surface to decorate. Trace a simple drawing or pattern and slide under the parchment paper and follow the outline of the drawing, letting the chocolate fall evenly from the tip without forcing it. Leave to set and then remove from the paper with a spatula/palette knife.
Cut out shapes
Cut a 2in strip of greaseproof paper. Brush it with melted chocolate and spread to an even layer 1.5 mm thick. Leave to cool or until setting point.
Lightly cut into shapes. For curved shapes, lift the paper on to a rolling pin. Leave to set. When the chocolate has set lift it away from the rolling pin. Carefully peel the shapes away from the paper. Store in a container in the fridge with greaseproof paper between them to stop sticking together.
Pick fresh leaves with distinct veins holly and rose leaves work well. Coat the underside of each leaf with melted chocolate using a small brush. Leave the leaf chocolate side up to set. Peel the leaf away from the chocolate to use.
Melt some chocolate and pour onto a flat hard surface such as a marble slab. Quickly spread the chocolate with a palette knife to make a smooth and very thin layer. Using both hands push a sharp knife along the surface at 45 degrees angle. If the scroll breaks up try heating the knife in hot water and drying it before using.
Chill the chocolate before using. Grate the chocolate using an ordinary grater, over a piece of greaseproof paper or straight onto the product.
Melt the chocolate and then using a fork, lower the sweet/fruit/nut etc into the chocolate. Gently draw the chocolate over the exposed surface. Using the fork lift the sweet out of the chocolate without piercing it. Lightly tap the fork against the side of the bowl to stop excess chocolate forming a pool or foot on the sweet. Carefully tip the chocolate onto the work surface or greaseproof paper. Let the dipped chocolates set without touching them. When set put the chocolates in paper confectionery cups.