White Chocolate Christmas Tree
This delicious and decorative holiday confection demonstrates the key to cooking with white chocolate: adding in a touch of water helps it keep its shape after cooling. This recipe first appeared in our December 2012 issue along with Maria Pottage's story White Christmas.
Enlarge Image Credit: Todd ColemanMAKES 1 TREE
INGREDIENTS2½ lbs. white chocolate (at least 20 percent cocoa butter), chopped
10–20 drops green food coloring
10–20 drops red food coloring
INSTRUCTIONS1. Using a pencil and 4½", 3½", 3", 2½", and 1¾" round cookie cutters, trace two circles of each size on three parchment paper—lined baking sheets, leaving at least 2" of room around each circle; set aside. On another parchment paper—lined baking sheet, place both the 4½" and 2¼" rings; set aside.
2. Place 2 lb. chocolate in a bowl set over a saucepan of barely simmering water, and stir constantly until melted, 6–8 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in 1½–2 tsp. water; set aside for 20–25 minutes to thicken. Fill the 4½" and 2¼" cookie cutters with ¼ cup chocolate each; tap baking sheet to settle. Chill until set. Transfer remaining chocolate to a piping bag fitted with a ⅜" star tip, and using the pencil markings as your guide, pipe 1"-long "leaves" radiating from the circumference of each circle. Pipe an "x" inside each of the four largest circles to provide them with greater stability. Pipe two free-form leaves on one of the baking sheets; refrigerate baking sheets until the chocolate sets, 25–30 minutes.
3. Melt remaining chocolate in a bowl set over a saucepan of barely simmering water. Let cool slightly, and divide between two small bowls. Stir ½ tsp. water into one bowl; transfer to a small resealable plastic bag. Snip a small hole in corner of bag. Set both bag and bowl of chocolate aside.
4. Remove baking sheets from refrigerator. Unmold cookie cutters and, using bag of chocolate, pipe a small ring on top of the 2¼" circle. Place the 4½" circle on top of smaller circle to make a pedestal. Pipe a ring of chocolate around top edge of pedestal; place one of the largest circles of leaves on top. Continue this process, stacking circles of leaves, from largest to smallest to make a tree. Glue the two free-form leaves together with a drop of chocolate; secure them standing up on top of smallest circle to make a pointed treetop.
5. Divide remaining chocolate between 2 bowls; stir red food coloring into one and green into the other. Transfer each to a small resealable plastic bag, and snip a small hole in one corner of each bag. Pipe dots and strings around tree to make Christmas decorations. Chill until set, about 1 hour.