You don’t have to be a pastry chef to turn out show-stopping desserts served in chocolate bowls. And, making them is easier than you might think. You just need a handful of small balloons, some chopped chocolate (white, dark or semi-sweet) that has been tempered (it’s a snap in the microwave – see instructions below), a little parchment paper and a baking sheet or two. Here’s how to get ready to wow!
Line your baking sheet(s) with parchment paper and set aside. Fill each balloon with air – the balloon should not be blown any larger than 5 inches (water balloons are a great choice here for their small size). Tie off with a knot. Holding the knotted end, dip your balloon into the melted and cooled chocolate and allow the excess to drip back into the bowl. Repeat a second time to create a smooth coat of chocolate. Place the balloon on the prepared baking sheet and continue with the remaining balloons.
Place the baking sheet in the refrigerator and allow the chocolate to set, about 15 minutes. To remove the bowls from the balloons: Remove the balloon and bowl from the baking sheet. Stick a pin into the balloon to slowly release the air (slowly is the key here so your bowl won’t collapse). Peel away the balloon and fill with mousse, whipped cream, ice cream or fruit.
Variations: To make a white chocolate bowl with decorative dark chocolate squiggles like the one in the photograph above (or to add white chocolate decorations to your dark chocolate bowl), after removing the balloon, place the bowl upside-down on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Using a fork, take some melted dark or semi-sweet chocolate (or white chocolate if your chocolate bowl is dark) and drizzle artfully into patterns, allowing the chocolate to spill onto the baking sheet for frilly chocolate garnishes. Place the baking sheet in the refrigerator to set up for about 15 minutes. Carefully remove clusters of the chocolate for a pretty garnish to your chocolate bowl dessert masterpiece.
To temper chocolate in the microwave:
Place the chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave in 30 second intervals, stirring until almost all the chocolate has melted (the residual heat will melt any remaining pieces), about 60 to 70 seconds total, depending on your microwave. Just be careful to not let the chocolate burn. Set aside and allow the melted chocolate to cool for 5 to 10 minutes or the balloons will burst if the chocolate is too warm.