Chocolate Leaves for Pistachio-Chocolate Buche de Noel

Photo: Dana Gallagher

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).


  • 30 pesticide-free lemon leaves

  • 6 ounces best-quality bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped


  1. Gently clean the leaves with a damp paper towel. Let dry on a baking sheet.

  2. 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 (avoid using a wooden spoon which can impart other flavors) 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.

  3. Using a pastry brush, paint veiny 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.

  4. Starting from stem ends, carefully peel leaves from chocolate; discard the leaves. Transfer chocolate leaves to a parchment-lined baking sheet; refrigerate until ready to use.

Cook's Notes

The chocolate leaves can be refrigerated, covered, up to one day.

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