Chocolate Almond Pinecone Garnishes

Divide one 7-oz. tube almond paste into six equal portions. Form each into a cone shape, about 1-1/2 in. tall and 1 in. in diameter. Beginning at the base, insert pointed end of sliced almonds (4 ounces total) into paste to resemble a pinecone.

Melt 1-1/4 cups chip - semisweet, milk, vanilla or white - and 1 tablespoon shortening (do not use butter, margarine or oil). Stir until smooth. Insert a toothpick into the bottom of each pinecone. Holding over a bowl, spoon melted chocolate over pinecone.

Use another toothpick to spread the chocolate to completely cover. Place on a wire rack over waxed paper; let stand until firm.

Use immediately or store in an airtight container at room temperature for several weeks.