Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook!

How to Garnish


Chocolate Cutouts and More
For your child's next birthday party, place a chocolate cutout alongside each serving of cake. Have the child help you by choosing the cookie cutter shapes he or she likes best.

To make chocolate cutout
garnishes:
  1. Place square or bar of semisweet chocolate on cutting board; shave it into small pieces with paring knife, as pictured above.

  2. Place shavings in measuring cup. Add shortening. Use 1 teaspoon of shortening for every 2 ounces of chocolate. Fill a saucepan one-quarter full (about 1 inch deep) with warm, not hot, water.

  3. Place measuring cup in water to melt chocolate, stirring frequently with rubber spatula until smooth, as pictured above. Be careful not to get any water into chocolate.

  4. Line inside of baking sheet with waxed paper. Pour melted chocolate into prepared baking sheet; quickly spread chocolate into a thin layer (1/8 to 1/4 inch thick) with metal spatula.

    Spread chocolate inside baking pan.
    ©2006 Publications International, Ltd.
    Spread chocolate inside baking pan.

  5. Let stand in cool, dry place until chocolate is just firm. Do not chill in refrigerator.

  6. Cut chocolate into shapes with hors d'oeuvre or cookie cutters, placing cutters as close together as possible.

    Cut chocolate into shapes with cookie cutters.
    ©2006 Publications International, Ltd.
    Cut chocolate into shapes
    with cookie cutters.

  7. Carefully remove cutouts with metal spatula. Store the cutouts in a cool, dry place until ready to use.

    Remove cutouts with metal spatula.
    ©2006 Publications International, Ltd.
    Remove cutouts with metal spatula.


  8. Garnish as desired.

    Garnish with Chocolate Cutouts, like this chocolate star.
    ©2006 Publications International, Ltd.
    Garnish with Chocolate Cutouts, like this chocolate star.

Baker's Tip!
For ease in cutting chocolate, slightly warm cookie cutters with hands before cutting out shapes.

Chocolate-Dipped Fruits & Nuts

For the perfect ending to a rich meal, serve cups of steaming hot coffee. Garnish each saucer with a chocolate-dipped fruit or nut.

To make chocolate-dipped fruit and nut
garnishes:
  1. Place square or bar of semisweet chocolate on cutting board; shave it into small pieces with paring knife, as pictured above.

  2. Place shavings in measuring cup. As shown above, fill a saucepan one-quarter full (about 1 inch deep) with warm, not hot, water. Place measuring cup in water to melt chocolate, stirring frequently with rubber spatula until smooth. Be careful not to get any water into chocolate. Remove measuring cup from saucepan.

  3. If using fresh fruit, wash and dry well. Dip fruits and nuts, one at a time, into melted chocolate, until chocolate coating comes about two-thirds of the way up the side. Allow excess chocolate to drip off.

    Dip fruits into chocolate.
    ©2006 Publications International, Ltd.
    Dip fruits and nuts into chocolate.

  4. Transfer dipped fruits and nuts to waxed paper. Let stand in a cool, dry place until chocolate is firm. Do not chill in refrigerator.

  5. Garnish as desired.

    Garnish with Chocolate-Dipped Fruits and Nuts.
    ©2006 Publications International, Ltd.
    Garnish with Chocolate-Dipped
    Fruits and Nuts.

Melting & Piping Chocolate Drizzles

For a quick finish to cream puffs or éclairs, drizzle each pastry with chocolate before topping with toasted sliced almonds or pecan pieces.

To melt and pipe chocolate drizzle
garnishes:
  1. Place squares or bars of unsweetened, semisweet, or milk chocolate on cutting board; shave it into small pieces with paring knife, as pictured above.

  2. Place shavings in measuring cup. Fill a saucepan one-quarter full (about 1 inch deep) with warm, not hot, water. Place measuring cup in water to melt chocolate, stirring frequently with rubber spatula until smooth, as pictured above. Be careful not to get any water into chocolate. Remove measuring cup from saucepan. Let chocolate cool slightly.

  3. Fill plastic bag about half full with melted chocolate. Seal bag securely.

    Fill plastic big with melted chocolate.
    ©2006 Publications International, Ltd.
    Fill plastic big with melted chocolate.

  4. Cut off very tiny corner of bag with scissors.

    Use scissors to cut off top corner of bag.
    ©2006 Publications International, Ltd.
    Use scissors to cut off top corner of bag.

  5. Gently squeeze bag, piping chocolate onto cake, cookie, ice cream, or other dessert using an even, steady flow.

  6. Garnish as desired.

    Garnish with Chocolate Drizzles.
    ©2006 Publications International, Ltd.
    Garnish with Chocolate Drizzles,
    as shown on these cream puffs.

Chocolate Shapes

For a dazzling display, bend chocolate into the shapes that you desire.

To make chocolate shape
garnishes:
  1. Place squares or bars of unsweetened, semisweet, or milk chocolate on cutting board; shave it into small pieces with paring knife, as pictured above.

  2. Place shavings in measuring cup. Fill a saucepan one-quarter full (about 1 inch deep) with warm, not hot, water. Place measuring cup in water to melt chocolate, stirring frequently with rubber spatula until smooth, as pictured above. Be careful not to get any water into chocolate. Remove measuring cup from saucepan. Let chocolate cool slightly.

  3. Fill plastic bag about half full with melted chocolate, as pictured above. Seal bag securely.

  4. Cut off very tiny corner of bag with scissors, as pictured above.

  5. Gently squeeze bag and pipe chocolate in a steady flow onto sheet of waxed paper, making a variety of small shapes. Stop squeezing and then lift bag at end of each shape. Create flowers, hearts, Christmas trees, lattice shapes or any lacy pattern.

    Squeeze chocolate into desired shape.
    ©2006 Publications International, Ltd.
    Squeeze chocolate into desired shape.

  6. Let stand in cool, dry place until chocolate is firm. Do not chill in refrigerator. When chocolate is firm, gently peel shapes off waxed paper. Store shapes in cool, dry place until ready to use.

    Gently peel shapes off waxed paper.
    ©2006 Publications International, Ltd.
    Gently peel shapes off waxed paper.

  7. Garnish as desired.

    Garnish with Chocolate Shapes.
    ©2006 Publications International, Ltd.
    Garnish with Chocolate Shapes.

Melting & Piping White Chocolate Drizzles

These drizzles not only look great against a brownies, they also melt in your mouth.

To melt and pipe white chocolate drizzle
garnishes:
  1. Place white chocolate baking bar in small resealable plastic freezer bag.

  2. Microwave at medium (50% power) 2 minutes. Turn bag over; microwave at medium 2 to 3 minutes or until white chocolate is melted.

  3. Knead bag until white chocolate is smooth.

    Knead bag to smooth white chocolate.
    ©2006 Publications International, Ltd.
    Knead bag to smooth white chocolate.

  4. Cut off very tiny corner of bag with scissors.

  5. Gently squeeze bag, piping white chocolate onto cake, cookie, ice cream, or other dessert using an even, steady flow.

    Pipe white chocolate onto dessert.
    ©2006 Publications International, Ltd.
    Pipe white chocolate onto dessert.

White Chocolate Curls

Decorate cannolis and other delicious desserts with these curls.

To make white chocolate curl
garnishes:
  1. Place white chocolate baking bar on cutting board; shave it into small pieces with paring knife.

  2. Place white chocolate shavings and shortening in measuring cup. Use 1 teaspoon of shortening for every 2 ounces of chocolate.

  3. Microwave on high (100% power) about 1-1/2 minutes or until melted, stirring after every 30 seconds of cooking.

  4. Pour melted white chocolate onto back of baking pan. Quickly spread chocolate into a very thin layer (about 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick) with metal spatula. Refrigerate white chocolate about 10 minutes or until firm, but still pliable.

    Spread white chocolate onto pan.
    ©2006 Publications International, Ltd.
    Spread white chocolate onto pan.

  5. Use small straight-edged metal spatula to form curls. Holding spatula at a 45-degree angle, push spatula firmly along baking pan, under chocolate, so chocolate curls as it is pushed. If chocolate is too firm to curl. Let stand a few minutes at room temperature. Refrigerate again if it becomes too soft.

    Push spatula along pan to make white chocolate curl.
    ©2006 Publications International, Ltd.
    Push spatula along pan to make
    white chocolate curl.

  6. Using small skewer or toothpick, transfer curl to waxed paper. Store curls in a cool, dry place until ready to use.

    Transfer white chocolate curl to waxed paper with a toothpick.
    ©2006 Publications International, Ltd.
    Transfer white chocolate curl to
    waxed paper with a toothpick.

  7. Garnish as desired.
White Chocolate Cutouts

These shapes are fun for kids and adults.

To make white chocolate cutout
garnishes:
  1. Melt white chocolate baking bar in small bowl set inside larger bowl half filled with very hot water, stirring occasionally. Do not use shortening.

    Melt white chocolate bars inside two bowls.
    ©2006 Publications International, Ltd.
    Melt white chocolate bars inside two bowls.

     

  2. Line cookie sheet or baking pan with waxed paper. Pour melted white chocolate onto waxed paper; quickly spread chocolate into a thin layer (1/8 to 1/4 inch thick) with rubber spatula.

    Spread on cookie sheet with rubber spatula.
    ©2006 Publications International, Ltd.
    Spread on cookie sheet with rubber spatula.

  3. Refrigerate until white chocolate is just firm, about 15 minutes.

  4. Cut chocolate into shapes with sharp knife. You can also use cookie cutters, if desired.

    Cut chocolate into shapes when making white chocolate cutouts for garnishing.
    ©2006 Publications International, Ltd.
    Cut chocolate into shapes.

  5. Immediately lift cutouts carefully from waxed paper with metal spatula or knife. Refrigerate until ready to use.

  6. Garnish as desired.
Sweet garnishes are great for desserts. Vegetable garnishes are perfect for the main course. Learn how to make bell pepper garnishes in the next section.

More to Explore