Use A Vegetable Peeler For Perfect Chocolate Ribbons

When you have friends coming over, you could opt for a pan of no-fuss boxed brownies. However, if you really want to wow your guests, you could make this double-layered Black Forest cake topped with cherry pie filling and cream cheese frosting. And the cherry on top (no pun intended) of this decadent recipe is the melt-in-your-mouth chocolate shavings sprinkled over top after baking and frosting. It may be a little extra, but you're left with an indulgent dessert that is sure to impress.

While chocolate shavings or ribbons may sound like a lot of work for little return, they're actually easier to make than you think — and they're just so darn pretty. Sure, there is a long, more complicated method, which involves melting chocolate and butter together, freezing it, and then scraping curls off the pan with a spatula. This process can get a little tricky, as you have to make sure the chocolate and butter don't burn by stirring them oven while they're on the stove, or microwaving them in small increments and stirring in between. 

You can also use a double boiler to melt chocolate, but between the bowl and the pot, the baking sheet used to freeze the chocolate, and the spatula, you're getting quite a few dishes dirty. Plus for either of these methods, the chocolate needs to be properly cooled before being scraped into ribbons, or it will just fall apart. So there's also a time commitment to the whole process.

But luckily, there is an easier way. And it uses one tool that you likely already have in your kitchen.

Use a peeler and a chocolate bar for pretty chocolate ribbons

If you're fed up with double-boiling, freezing, and painstakingly scraping your chocolate into ribbons, ditch that method entirely and use a vegetable peeler instead. Even though this technique is much easier, you'll still end up with beautiful, elegant chocolate ribbons (or shavings, if you prefer). Instead of melting chocolate, you're going to start by grabbing a big chocolate bar — try to grab a wide block, as a thin bar will be more difficult to handle.

Then, fish out your vegetable peeler. You'll want to use a straight-edged peeler that doesn't have a guard or any extra attachments for the cleanest lines and a room-temperature chocolate bar. A gentle touch should do the trick, as pushing too hard may end up breaking the bar. If you want thinner curls, you can try scraping the edge of the chocolate bar as well. Once you've made all the curls you want, refrigerate them if you're not using them right away so they'll retain their shape.

When you're ready to use them, you'll have perfect chocolate ribbons to sprinkle over cakes, ice cream, trifles, or cupcakes. For a pretty contrast, try mixing milk or dark chocolate ribbons with white chocolate, or even colorful bars like strawberry or mint.