Creating Chocolate Curls

My mother and I have been wondering how to make chocolate curls for garnishing dessert tops. We have tried to make them, but they always crumble and break. We'd appreciate your help. —M.M., Raton, New Mexico

To make chocolate curls successfully, it's all about the temperature of the chocolate. For large curls, melt 4 ounces of semisweet baking chocolate and spread the melted chocolate in an even 1/4-inch-thin layer on a large baking sheet. Refrigerate chocolate just until firm but not brittle, about 10 minutes. Let stand at room temperature if chocolate gets too cold. Hold a metal spatula at a 45-degree angle. Press firmly into the chocolate, then push away from you until the curl begins to form. For small curls, a 4-ounce semisweet or bittersweet chocolate bar can be left out in a warm place (80° to 85°) until thoroughly warm but not melted. With a vegetable peeler, draw along the flat side of the chocolate bar, making a curl. No matter what size chocolate curl you're making, be sure to move the curls onto the dessert with a toothpick, not your hands. The heat of your hands will melt the chocolate.

 
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