- 2 3/4 pounds white chocolate, coarsely chopped, plus three 4-ounce pieces for tempering
- Line a 12 1/2-by-17-inch rimmed baking sheet with acetate.
- Place 2 3/4 pounds chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Bring a saucepan with 2 inches of water to a simmer, and then reduce heat to low. Set bowl with chocolate over saucepan, and let melt, stirring gently with a rubber spatula, until chocolate registers 118 degrees on a candy thermometer. (Watch the chocolate carefully, as heating and cooling times may vary.) Remove bowl from saucepan. Add remaining chocolate, and stir until chocolate cools to 82 degrees. (Remove any unmelted pieces with spatula.) Return bowl to saucepan, and let stand, stirring occasionally until chocolate registers 86 degrees to 87 degrees.
- Pour chocolate into prepared sheet, spreading evenly. Tap bottom on work surface to even out chocolate. Refrigerate until set, about 45 minutes (chocolate will be easier to cut if slightly soft).
- Place chocolate on a work surface. Heat 1/2 inch of water until steaming. Working with 1 cutter at a time, starting with the largest and working down to the smallest, place cutter in water to heat. Remove with tongs, and dry completely. Press cutter into chocolate, pressing all the way through. (You can use the bottom of a small bowl to help press down if it's too difficult.) Carefully remove chocolate from cutter. Repeat with same-size cutter. Then repeat with remaining star cutters, cutting out 2 of each, but only 1 of each of the smallest 3 stars. Cut two 1-inch rounds. Reserve chocolate scraps.
- To assemble the trees: Melt 3 ounces of scrap chocolate. Using melted chocolate as glue and a small paintbrush, glue 2 rounds together for truck. Glue 1 of the largest stars on trunk, followed by remaining largest, rotating each slightly to stagger points. Repeat, gluing stars, largest to smallest, and rotating each slightly to stagger points and create a tree shape. Turn the last (and smallest) star on its side to create the tree topper. (For a medium tree, leave out the 2 largest stars; for a small tree, leave out the 4 largest.)
Sources: 12-by-18-inch acetate sheet (PH559900), $2.49 for 5 sheets, from Wine and Cake Hobbies, 757-857-0245 or wineandcake.com; Cookie cutters: 5-inch, 5-point star (#13727), $1.75; 4 3/4-inch, 5-point star (#13726); $1.25; 6-piece star set (1 3/4, 2, 2 1/2, 3, 3 1/4, and 3 1/2 inches; #4614), $9.95; 1 1/2-inch, 5-point star (#13725), $1.25; and 1-inch round (#7891), $1.25; and aspic cutters: 1-inch 12-piece set (#4603), $8.25; 3/4-inch 12-piece set (#4602), $8.25; 1/2-inch 12-piece set (#4601), $8.25; from Broadway Panhandler, 866-266-5927 or broadwaypanhandler.com; 4 1/4-inch star cutter (small; #189), $12.95, from coppergifts.com, 620-421-0654.