Joe's had quite the birthday week. It started with a celebration last weekend with his side of the family, which included homemade cherry pie and chocolate cake. Next was dinner with my side which included more cake. So when his actual birthday finally came around on Wednesday, we were pretty caked out.
Then Joe randomly came across a website for making dessert cups - I don't recall where - but we thought that sounded like fun, and not super rich like a cake. I did some internet searching and came across a couple of good tutorials at Bakerella and Ghiradelli.
You take small balloons, dip them into melted chocolate, then freeze or refrigerate. Once they've hardened, you carefully let the air out of the balloons and peel them away from the chocolate shell. My balloons really wanted to stick to the chocolate so it took forever to get them out. It was quite a pain in the ass, actually. I didn't even take any photos of how I deflated the balloons because after the first cup broke I figured they would all break and I wouldn't be blogging about it anyway. Next time (and there will be a next time) I will take Bakerella's advice and lightly coat the balloons with cooking spray before coating with chocolate.
|We thought the chocolate looked like hair so we had a bit of fun with this one :-)|
The hands-on time for this dessert was very minimal, which is always nice. And if you approach it with the understanding that you will have some breakage and they probably won't look completely perfect, you will still be very pleased with the result.
You can fill these delicious chocolate cups with a variety of things. Fresh berries, ice cream, pudding, etc. We filled ours with homemade whipped cream and strawberries. We also had some chocolate gelato in the freezer so we filled one with that too. I think that one was my favorite.
Chocolate Dessert Cups
adapted from a variety of sources, such as Bakerella and Ghiradelli
Notes: Plan to make more cups then you will actually need, because there probably will be some breakage. For the balloons, I had a pack of assorted sizes already and had good luck with the ones that were about 3 inches long (before blowing up). I also tried some smaller ones that were about 2 inches long, but those popped almost immediately after dipping into the chocolate. I didn't measure how much chocolate I used, it was probably about 3/4 of a pound, but I had a lot of extra so you could probably get away with less if you aren't making very many cups.
You will need:
Good quality chocolate (I bought some fair trade dark chocolate chips in bulk at the Co-Op. Joe is not a fan of milk chocolate)
Blow up the balloons to whatever size you want for your cups and tie securely. Mine were about 4 inches in diameter. Rinse and gently dry them, and set aside.
Melt your chocolate in a double boiler (or just in a glass bowl set over a pot of simmering water like I did). Stir frequently until the chocolate is just melted. Remove from heat and allow to cool for a few minutes. You only need the chocolate to be slightly warm for this.
Holding the balloon by the tie, dip it gently into the chocolate and swirl it around to coat. Use a spatula to evenly spread it around and to neaten up the edges as needed. Make sure you have a good coating; if it's too thin it will break easily.
Set the dipped balloon onto a baking sheet (some people line it with parchment or waxed paper, I didn't). Press it gently onto the pan and hold it in place for a few seconds until it sits upright on it own.
When you've dipped all your balloons, place the pan in the refrigerator or freezer (depending on how soon you want them). Once the chocolate has hardened, gently loosen them all from the surface of the pan. Put them back in the fridge and take out one at a time to remove the balloon, so the rest stay cold.
To deflate the balloons, place a small piece of tape on the balloon near the top. Using a tack or pin, poke a hole in the balloon through the tape and let the air release slowly (the tape keeps the balloon from popping open when you poke a hole in it). Pressing the balloon down in the center with one finger, gently pry the balloon away from the sides, working your way slowly around in a circle. If you poke any holes in the cup, just fill it in with leftover melted chocolate.
To serve, fill the cups with whatever you like, such as ice cream, gelato, pudding, whipped cream, and/or fresh berries.
You can make these a day ahead, keep refrigerated until ready to serve. I say this because we did not finish all of our dessert cups the first day, so we had them again the next night, and thought they tasted just as good to us.