Sunday, 12 October 2008

PLAYING WITH CHOCOLATE: MINI CHOCOLATE PUMPKIN TUTORIAL

Here, by popular demand, is my tutorial on making Mini Chocolate Pumpkins.

Since it's a long-weekend here in Canada, I have an itty bitty amount of time between stacks of marking to give you a quick run-down on how to work "Chocolate Plastic" into cute Mini Pumpkins.

Remember those Chocolate Roses I made? (Check back later because I have to post that tutorial next!) I still have plenty of leftover chocolate plastic from making the roses. I kept it tightly wrapped in plastic wrap and then put all of that in an airtight plastic container. All you have to do is take a small piece of the chocolate plastic and warm it up in your hands or beat it with a rolling pin! What fun! Yes, the beating part.

The recipe is simple: Melt 6 oz bittersweet chocolate and combine it with 1/3 cup
corn syrup. Mix thoroughly until combined. Spread the mixture thinly and evenly on a plastic wrap-lined sheet pan for a few hours (covered with more plastic wrap). Knead the chocolate plastic to soften and keep it wrapped in plastic wrap when you're not using it.

Pinch a small ball of chocolate plastic in your fingers and create a ball by rolling it between your palms. You remember...kind of like when you were a kid playing with Playdough!

I like a squat shape for my mini pumpkins, so I kind of squash the ball between my palms. Then I use a toothpick (or a skewer, or my favourite tool--my metal "cake tester") and trace lines up and down...and all around the pumpkin to--well, make it look like a pumpkin!

Take a tiny ball of chocolate plastic and roll it into a tiny log to make the stem. Cut off a stem-sized piece and use a toothpick to position it into the pumpkin.
I like to make a hole down the top of my pumpkin with a toothpick first. I drill down to about the centre of the pumpkin.It's a delicate matter. You can use tweezers I suppose, but I find a toothpick works fine because the little point helps guide the stem end into the hole.

I use the toothpick tip to squish and press down the stem to attach it firmly to the pumpkin top and then proceed to make a leaf.

Create a tiny ball of chocolate plastic into a leaf shape. I know that pumpkin leaves don't look like this, but I'm working in such a tiny scale that I don't really care. This simple leaf design is so much easier to handle. If you're so inclined, go ahead and make the pumpkin leaves look botanically correct. I find that trying to make little curly tendrils doesn't work well as the plastic chocolate doesn't hold its shape so well when it's rolled so thinly.
You can use the Mini Chocolate Pumpkins to adorn Mini Pumpkin Cheesecake Brulees or this Pumpkin-Pie Chiffon Cake oozing with Dulce de Leche. They're great on cupcakes too. If you want, you can use white chocolate and tint the finished shapes with food colouring but I'm not as crazy about the white chocolate flavour as real dark chocolate :)

Yes, I'll post my original Pumpin-Pie Chiffon Cake Recipe next (I was a busy little baking-bee this weekend). It's yummerific. I'm on a roll because I winged the recipe with all the extra pumpkin puree I had on hand from making those Mini Pumpkin Cheesecakes. I still have some puree left and am thinking of adding it to a certain creamy dessert I've made in the past...

Enjoy!


47 comments:

Manggy said...

Good job! And with no special tools too! Hmm, maybe you could use the toothpick to rip apart the edges of the leaf to make it look more like the pumpkin leaf. I know, I know, I'm being obsessive-compulsive, haha! :) Thanks for the step by step!

Snooky doodle said...

wow this is great, Thanks for the tutorial its great

Potato Chef said...

You are an artist. Beautiful. Thanks for sharing how you do it.

Sweet Bird said...

This is fabulous! Who knew making something so adorable could be so easy? With autumn upon us this will have so many applications throughout the season.

You're a genius!

Jodie said...

These are so cute. I love working with modelling chocolate.

once in a blue moon... said...

so cute and thank you for sharing, i love how to's!

CocoaZilla said...

That is super cute and tasty looking!

Anonymous said...

Oh my gosh, that is such a great tutorial - thanks for posting! I've been looking for things along these lines to do with my 13yo son who is currently fascinated with the "Ace of Cakes" show on the Food Network. These will be perfect!

Kassandra said...

That's awesome. Those are SO adorable! :o)

Indigo said...

Omg, this is incredible! Chocolate plastic is a revelation to me, but I can see myself having so much fun with it. Thank you so much for this!

Ivana said...

Amazing!!

Cakebrain said...

Mark,
I know if you made these, they would be anatomically/botanically correct! hee hee!

Thanks for visiting everyone! Have fun playing with chocolate and check in later for the rose tutorial!

Clumbsy Cookie said...

So cute! I love tutorials, thanks! Happy Thanksgiving!

LocatheCat said...

You *made* that?? Wow. You rock. Guess I know what I'll be making for Thanksgiving. These would be perfect to place a single one in each place setting. Thakns for the idea!

Jacki said...

Very cool! I think I will try this. I bet it works well with fondant too. Thanks for sharing!

Hillary said...

This is awesome! Thanks for the tutorial, didn't know it could be so simple!

Chic Cookies said...

These are VERY cute! I posted a link to your tutorial on craftgossip.com, under the edible crafts category(I'm the editor there, meaghan). Thanks for sharing your treats!

Jenn's Baking Chamber said...

Adorable!! Those are perfect little additions to a festive pumpkin dessert! I wish I would have made those to top my pumpkin cake that I made last night! thanks for the post

giz said...

It's such fun to look at something and think, wow - that must be difficult and then see a tutorial that says - it's gorgeous and easy to do. My favourite. Hope you had a nice Thanksgiving.

morgana said...

It looks great! Thank you for this amazing tutorial.

Maria said...

Wow, thanks for the tutorial!

Brilynn said...

Thanks for the tutorial on this, I'm looking forward to playing around with some chocolate plastic of my own!

RecipeGirl said...

What a great cupcake topper! I look forward to playing around with chocolate!!

Denise said...

Could you make the chocolate plastic with white chocolate also?

And maybe some food coloring :)

TIA!

Cakebrain said...

Denise,
Actually, in the last paragraph in my post I talk about using white chocolate. Yes, you can use white chocolate and you can tint it with food colouring...I'd be inclined to use powdered food colouring.

SweetBites said...

thanx for the tutorial. choc pumpkin looks so adorable.

Y said...

Those are so cute, and you make it look so simple!

Rhyleysgranny said...

Goodness that is so amazing. I have never heard of chocolate plastic before. Great tutorial.

Rhyleysgranny said...

Me again I just wondered if you can freeze your plastic chocolate?

Cakebrain said...

Rhyleysgranny,
thanks for commenting! Chocolate plastic is a new-found revelation to me. I have not had a need to freeze it so I cannot say how it would turn out. Mine is still fine being stored in its plastic wrap and airtight container. If you think you can't use the whole recipe, I would just halve it. Then if you still have any leftovers, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and then store in an airtight container. It keeps pretty much like chocolate. I have a fear that if you freeze it, the texture might be compromised and water (from condensation) and chocolate don't really like each other. But I really don't know...I'm just guessing. If anybody has experience with freezing it, please comment!

Ingrid said...

Wow, that does seem easy enough! Thanks,t hat was pretty cool of you to take the time and post this.
~ingrid

Anonymous said...

Do you think it is possible or even in a way better to cover a cake with chocolate plastic. I'm not too found of the taste of fondant, so I am definitely looking for alternatives.

Cakebrain said...

hey anonymous,
I would say that it's all a matter of taste. The original recipe I used was for covering a cake with chocolate plastic. I prefer buttercream for frosting my cakes because I like the texture and flavour better. I do like chocolate plastic over fondant so yes, if given a choice between the two, I'd cover a cake with chocolate plastic instead of fondant. That being said, you'd find it more difficult to work with chocolate plastic than fondant (in humid/hot climates) and you would certainly need to use white chocolate instead of dark for many applications. Often, covering a whole cake with dark chocolate plastic will make the whole cake look too dark. White is more versatile for weddings and celebrations and as a background for other decorations like flowers. Fondant, to put it bluntly, is cheaper too. I'd say to try using chocolate plastic. It's not difficult at all and way tastier.

Anonymous said...

Hey I live in England and I would really like to use your chocolate roses idea to make a 70th birthday cake for my grandma, the only thing is we don't have corn syrup here in the uk. Could you suggest an alternative ?? Thank You

Cakebrain said...

Anonymous,
re: corn syrup replacement in UK. I'm not sure, but you can google it and see what's available. I've read that Tate and Lyle Golden Syrup, brown rice syrup and other such healthier alternatives are out there. Also, you can try to find glucose syrup.

Around the net, there's this recipe...hope it helps:

CORN SYRUP SUBSTITUTE
2 c. white sugar
3/4 c. water
1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
Dash of salt
Combine all ingredients in a heavy, large pan. Stir and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and put cover on it for 3 minutes to get sugar crystals off the sides of the pan. Uncover and cook until it reaches soft ball stage. Stir often.
Cool syrup and store in a covered container at room temperature. It will keep for about 2 months. Makes almost 2 cups.

PertMuffin said...

hi there,
may i know the actual qty of corn syrup in gram/ml?
i'm afraid that my chocolate plastic will be ruined if i used wrong cup size.
anyway, thanks a lot for the recipe and the tutorial. :)

Cakebrain said...

Hi PertMuffin,
Just go to my left side bar and you will find a converter, the "Culiverter".

Hecmi said...

HI
Thanks for the tutorial... I just tried it but its weak... I think is the heat. I live in Puerto Rico.... do you have any suggestions? Pls.... Thanks!!

Cakebrain said...

Hecmi,
ah, the unfortunate thing about working with chocolate is it is extremely difficult in warmer climates. I'm in Canada so it's okay of course! My only suggestion would be to make this in an air-conditioned environment, or when the weather is cooler. Perhaps instead of chocolate plastic, you should look for chocolate fondant or something else that works well in heat.

stella said...

Hi,
I live in Brazil and here we cant find different kinds of corn syrup.
KARO ( hope u know) is the only one we can find.
It will work on the plastic chocolate recipe?
XXX
Stella

Cakebrain said...

Stella, I googled karo and found that it was a brand of corn syrup. So it is the same thing apparently

stella said...

Thanks! About the 1/3 cup corn syrup, the cups I know can be 240ml to 200 ml. What is the correct one to use ?
Thanks again!

Cakebrain said...

I believe it is 1 cup =240 ml
HOWEVER, in Canada we round up to 250 ml (for cooling) for ease of conversion...and when it isn't crucial to be as accurate like in medicine.

stella said...

hahahahhaaha ok ... 250 will be fine!

Anonymous said...

Wish I would have this recipe when I was trying to figure out a way to make footballs for my Super Bowl cupcakes! This would have been much better than marzipan.

Pigscuit said...

I absolutely love it and I think I'm gonna use it a million times. Thank you so much, your blog is awesome

Gheza e shiriin said...

beautiful. Easy to follow tutorial and blog too
tc
Humi

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