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Chocolate shavings are an essential part of pastry-making. But contrary to popular belief, they aren’t just decorative! They are increasingly finding a role in hot or cold drinks, whipped creams, ice creams and all kinds of desserts. Explore the secrets behind chocolate shavings and their many uses.
How to make chocolate shavings ?
Whether you’re in a professional kitchen, an experimental laboratory or at home, there are many ways to make chocolate shavings. The two methods presented below use different equipment and utensils to suit your kitchen and your needs.
To save time, you can also buy ready-to-use chocolate shavings. Valrhona suggests home cooks use finely grated Nyangbo 68% dark chocolate shavings.
For professionals, the new Ground Chocolate range, made of single origin Ghanaian and single origin Grenadian shavings, was designed for baristas, makers and restaurateurs. It’s ideal if you want to offer your customers a range of high-quality hot drinks and a unique tasting experience.
Making chocolate shavings with a rolling pin
This first method is ideal for long, even chocolate shavings. It involves pouring zigzags of melted chocolate onto a rolling pin. The chocolate takes on the pin’s rounded shape and sets as it cools.
- First, wrap your pin in a sheet of baking paper and tie an elastic band at each end to hold the sheet in place.
- Temper your dark, white or milk chocolate in a bain-marie or using your chosen method.
- The easiest way to handle melted chocolate is to pour a small amount into a piping bag, but you can also use a ladle or a large spoon.
- Slowly pour zigzags of chocolate onto the rolling pin.
- Wait until the chocolate starts to harden on the roll, then remove the zigzags from the roll and divide them into shavings.
- Place the chocolate shavings in a sealed container and store them in the refrigerator or freezer until they are completely set (this will take from a few minutes to half an hour).
- Repeat steps 3 to 6 to make more shavings.
If you only need a few shavings, you can place your rolling pin straight in the refrigerator or freezer until they set.
If you need to work faster, you can also make your chocolate chips on a sheet of greaseproof paper, but they will not have the same rounded shape.
Making chocolate shavings using a knife or other utensils
The second method requires a smooth, even worktop, preferably marble. Otherwise, a baking tray or a stainless steel tray covered with a sheet of greaseproof paper will do the trick. Whatever you choose, it must be flat, as you have to create a solid sheet of chocolate from which you will form your chips.
Use a large sharp knife as you follow the steps below. This way, you will get attractive, fairly long chocolate shavings that roll up into curls.
- Start by tempering the chocolate you have chosen. Make sure it has a smooth, even texture.
- Pour a thin, even layer of melted chocolate onto your worktop. If you don’t have much time, pour the chocolate onto a tray and put it in the freezer until it sets.
- Let the chocolate stand at room temperature or in the freezer. Wait for the chocolate to set, but not completely harden (unless you want to make brittle chocolate shavings).
- Slide the blade of your knife across the sheet of chocolate to form shavings.
- Gently remove the shavings and place them on a plate.
- Repeat steps 4 to 5 to make new shavings.
To make differently sized or shaped shavings, such as dark or white chocolate micro-shavings, you can change the angle of your knife and the length of your knife strokes.
You can also use other utensils instead of a knife, such as a pastry cutter or scraper, Y-type or swivel vegetable peeler, a grater with large holes, a metal spatula, an ice cream spoon and so on.
How to store chocolate shavings?
When you prepare chocolate shavings in advance, naturally you need to take a few precautions so they store well.
If you plan to use them in the next few hours, room-temperature storage may be sufficient, provided you put them a cool, dry place.
To store your chocolate shavings in hot weather, it’s best to keep them in the refrigerator so they don’t melt. Place them in a sealed container, such as a jar. You can keep them for several days.
For extended storage, place them in an airtight freezer bag and keep them in your freezer.
Recipes that use chocolate shavings
Chocolate shavings are an essential part of pastry-making, playing a role as sprinkles, added ingredients, stracciatella and everything in between. They are also used in hot and cold drinks. When developing its Ground Chocolate range, Valrhona worked with two professional chefs to explore chocolate shavings’ many uses.
Using chocolate shavings to decorate your desserts
Chocolate shavings are best known for their use as decorations. For example, you can:
- Use them to cover cakes such as merveilleux and black forest gateaux
- Use them as a topping on your cupcakes or yule logs
- Sprinkle them over any type of cake or ice cream
They owe some of their popularity to the fact they come in all different varieties, as it is possible to make dark, milk, white and even blond-colored chocolate shavings. And that’s before we even mention the endless possibilities that natural food dyes bring!
Using chocolate shavings to add crunch to your desserts
Sprinklings are far from chocolate shavings’ only use, as you can incorporate them directly into your desserts. They can be used as an added ingredient to give desserts, biscuits, ice cream or chocolate sauce a crunchy texture.
For example, when developing Valrhona’s new Ground Chocolate range, British pastry chef Craig Alibone created his “millionaire’s shortbread” using a crispy chocolate puff pastry (using Ghanaian single origin Ground Chocolate) and salted vanilla caramel.
Chocolate shavings are also used in stracciatella recipes, where they are mixed with whipped cream, ice cream or mousse.
Chocolate shavings in your hot or cold drinks
Finally, chocolate shavings are used to prepare delicious hot or cold drinks made with a steam nozzle, shaker or chocolate maker. The simplest drink is “chocolate tea”, which involves mixing chocolate shavings with hot water to bring out their full flavor.
To create a more classic, creamier chocolate drink, simply add whole milk or an oat drink. The wide variety of milks and plant-based drinks gives you lots of other options too.
You can also add white, dark or other chocolate shavings to a coffee drink, such as a cappuccino or mocaccino.
Valrhona chocolate shavings for your pastries and drinks
Valrhona has developed a range of chocolate shavings called Ground Chocolate in collaboration with Quentin Jacquemaire and Craig Alibone. This range offers professionals all the creaminess and aromatic richness of a chocolate couverture for their drinks.
It currently includes two single origin products with unique aromatic profiles, available in a 3kg format:
- Ghanaian: dark chocolate shavings with a sweet and spicy profile
- Grenadian: a balanced profile and ripe fruit notes
For home cooks, Valrhona offers Nyangbo 68% chocolate shavings in a 250g bag. An ideal size to unleash your creativity at home!