We used lemon leaves -- which are smooth with well-defined veins -- to make our lifelike chocolate leaves; they can be purchased at many florists' shops (make sure the ones you buy were organically grown and are free of pesticides). The chocolate leaves can be refrigerated, covered, up to one day.
- Yield: Makes 30
Photography: Dana Gallagher
- 30 pesticide-free lemon leaves
- 6 ounces best-quality bittersweet chocolate finely chopped
Gently clean the leaves with a damp paper towel. Let dry on a baking sheet.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside. Heat 4 ounces chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water until chocolate registers 118 degrees on a candy thermometer. Remove bowl from heat; add remaining 2 ounces chocolate, and stir with a rubber spatula until chocolate cools to 84 degrees. Remove any unmelted pieces; discard, and return bowl to pan. Stir until chocolate reaches 88 degrees to 90 degrees.
Using a pastry brush, paint undersides of leaves generously with chocolate, covering entire surface. Place leaves, chocolate side up, on lined sheet; refrigerate until chocolate is firm, about 10 minutes.
Starting from stem ends, carefully peel leaves from chocolate; discard. Transfer chocolate leaves to a parchment-lined baking sheet; refrigerate until ready to use.