How to Make Chocolate Curls

When you want to lend your cakes a more upscale look, add curls. They look professional, but you needn't seek professional help. Just begin with an 8-ounce block of either semisweet or white chocolate purchased from a specialty shop or your local bakery. Most supermarkets don't stock these large blocks, and you need this size to create the ribbonlike curls.

Place the chocolate block on a plate in a warm spot -- by a sunny window, on top of the stove toward the back (not on a burner), on top of the refrigerator -- for about an hour, just to lightly soften it. Drag a sharp vegetable peeler down one side of the chocolate in one motion from top to bottom so you create curls. They will vary in size, and some may just look like splinters, but that doesn't matter. Use several handfuls of these curls on top of your frosted cake, then make some more curls to freeze in a zipper-lock bag; they'll keep for up to 1 month.

If you are making curls to use later in the day, transfer them to a sheet of aluminum foil, and refrigerate so they don't soften and lose their shape. The remaining chocolate can be wrapped tightly and returned to the pantry to be used in future desserts.

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