Chocolate Charlie & Lola Treats!

Yes, they're all chocolate! Yum!I have a great friend turning 30 next week (apparently 28, but I'm saying 30 because most of us are and I'm bitter:)). She's an amazing artist, a fun person, has a hilarious blog, and is generally inspiring. I wanted to make something fun for her birthday, so I decided on cupcakes with some kind of artistic garnish. I asked her about her favorite illustrators and she mentioned Lauren Child, the author of Charlie & Lola. These fun characters were just begging to be made in chocolate!! So, here's a great technique for making ANY kind of chocolate garnish. It's easy and looks professional. Here we go! I'll post a pic of the cupcakes next week when I make them.:)

Candy Melts (or chocolate chips. You can use semi-sweet for the outline and white tinted with food coloring for any other color. Candy melts work the best, though, since they set-up harder. You can get them at Wal-Mart in the cake-decorating section.)
Wax paper
Quart-sized ziploc freezer bags
Your imagination!

Tape down a picture you want to make in chocolate. You can downlaod my Charlie & Lola template here. Something with simple lines is best. You can draw something yourself, use one of you kids' pictures, whatever you can dream up. I think a birthday cake for Grandma or Grandpa with your kids' art on it would be fantastic! There are also some other great ideas here. The frogs are to-die-for cute!
Bakerella also did fantastic cake garnishes using her daughters drawings as inspiration (see cake above). You can check it out here. BTW, if you don't read her blog, run, don't walk, and check it out! She's fabulous!

OK, now that the creative juices are flowing, back to business. Tape a piece of wax paper on top of your template. Keep in mind that whatever you do, it's going to be "backwards" when you finish it, so if you are making letters, be sure your template has been reversed.

Melt candy melts or chocolate chips in a bowl, 30 seconds at a time in the microwave until melted. Spoon into a quart-sized freezer ziploc bag. Snip a tiny end off of the bag and use it to "draw" the outline of your shape. When the outline has hardened, start to fill in with various colors using the same technique. Don't worry, this doesn't have to be neat. The basic outline is the only thing you really need to have neatly done. You'll think you're doing a terrible job, look how messy they are from the back!

After completely set, peel off and you have a fantastic garnish! Have fun!

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