This Vegetable Peeler Hack Will Give You Perfect Chocolate Curls

Whether it's a layer cake, a carefully-crafted cocktail, homemade truffles, or a tray of cupcakes, what truly makes these sweet treats eye-catching and irresistible are the decorations. Those finishing touches make your desserts elegant and stylish, giving even the simplest homemade goodies a lift. Chocolate curls are an especially decadent bit of décor to add as a garnish. They're surprisingly easy to make too: just pick up a bar of good-quality chocolate and grab that old vegetable peeler from your kitchen drawer. 

No worries if you're an amateur when it comes to fancy chocolate work: the technique here could not be easier. The chocolatiers at Ghirardelli Chocolate say to simply hold a bar of chocolate in one hand and use the other hand to pull the vegetable peeler blades down the thin edge of the bar. Small, beautiful curls of chocolate will fall away. You can use this technique with bars of semisweet, bittersweet, or milk chocolate, depending on which flavor and color will best complement your recipe. Leite's Culinaria says that you can also make curls from bars of solid white chocolate this way.

For the best curls the temperature of the chocolate matters

Using your veggie peeler to make chocolate curls is easy, but it'll only work if your chocolate is at the right temperature. The recommendation from Ghirardelli is to let your chocolate sit at room temperature until it warms up to around 80 degrees Fahrenheit. It should be warm but not melting. 

How can you be sure your chocolate is warm enough? Make some test curls! Pull the vegetable peeler down the side of your warm chocolate bar. Leite's Culinaria says that if the chocolate pieces splinter and break, this means the chocolate is too cold. (However, these shard-like pieces can also be pretty on top of desserts!) To help the chocolate warm up more quickly, microwave the bar in five-second bursts until your chocolate curls come out perfectly. 

Letting the curls fall directly on top of your cake or dessert is the easiest way to add them. For drinks or other desserts where they must be placed by hand, let the curls fall onto a piece of parchment paper. Then, use a toothpick to move them from the paper into position on your dessert or cocktail — this way, the heat from your fingers won't melt and ruin your curls. To make chocolate curls in advance, place them in a sealed dish in the fridge until you're ready to use them.