Dress Up Your Desserts with These Easy Handmade Chocolate Curls

Big or small, chocolate curls add a deliciously fancy finish to any dessert. Learn how to make your own with a chocolate bar and a vegetable peeler.

Whether adding a classic finish to your French silk pie or giving your frosted brownies a crunchy topping, chocolate curls are one of the best ways to take your homemade desserts to the next level. And while it may seem tempting to buy packages of already-made chocolate shavings, you can easily make them at home (likely for much cheaper). Oh, and if you're an avid home cook, we're betting you might already have all the tools in your kitchen. So follow our easy guide to learn how to make chocolate curls in two different ways.

vegetable peeling making small chocolate curls
Mike Dieter

How to Make Chocolate Curls

Grab your favorite chocolate bar. That's right, you can easily make cholate curls from milk, white, or dark chocolate. Just make sure it doesn't have any fillings or add-ins, such as nuts or fruit, to ensure smooth curls.

  1. Carefully draw a vegetable peeler ($11, Target) across the broad surface of the chocolate bar. This works best if the chocolate is at room temperature. For narrower curls, use the side of the bar.
  2. Use a toothpick or bamboo skewer to place the curls and prevent fingerprints (and melting) to decorate your dessert. Or you can gently set them onto a paper towel-lined airtight container and store in the fridge until they're ready to use.
large chocolate curls made on inverted baking dish
Mike Dieter

How to Make Large Chocolate Curls

A handy trick to making big chocolate curls is turning a glass baking dish upside down and spreading melted chocolate over it. Here's how to do it:

  1. In a microwave-safe bowl, melt 2 oz. chopped bittersweet chocolate or milk chocolate and 1 tsp. shortening 45 seconds or until melted and smooth. Alternatively, you can melt in a small saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly.
  2. Use an offset spatula ($12, Bed Bath & Beyond) to spread the chocolate evenly over the inverted glass baking dish. Let stand 30 minutes or until set. If needed, place the dish in freezer 1 to 3 minutes to help set the chocolate; let stand at room temperature 5 to 10 minutes.
  3. Hold a straight-edge metal spatula ($10, Target) at an angle at one edge of the chocolate. Apply gentle, steady pressure, and push the spatula forward to create curls. For looser chocolate curls, push the spatula forward in an arc. You might need to repeat freezing and standing to get chocolate to the right consistency.
  4. As mentioned above, gently lift curls with a wooden skewer to avoid making fingerprints in the chocolate. Use immediately or place a single layer on paper towel. Cover and store in the fridge until ready to use.
Chocolate-Covered Strawberry Cakes
Steven McDonald

After you've got your chocolate shaving technique down, put those chocolate curls to good use. Add some white chocolate curls to a peppermint cream pie. Make your hot chocolate extra-fancy by topping it with whipped cream and adorable little chocolate curls. Or literally make any chocolate cake, mousse, or trifle look like a professionally-made bakery treat.

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