These dark chocolate taffy flowers, made from dark chocolate, corn syrup, and vanilla, are a lovely and simple garnish.
This recipe for dark chocolate taffy flowers reminds us of long-ago October nights spent rushing from house to house untwisting the paper ends of delicious candy chews. For lots of deep, rich taste in addition to chewiness, we melt the best dark chocolate, mix it with corn syrup, vanilla, and salt, and roll it out like pie dough. Easy! It’s also what we use to make dark chocolate flowers. Handmade flowers allow you to create a sophisticated look for dessert plates, one that matches all the hard work and love you put into them.–Susan Heeger and Susie Norris
LC Tootsie Roll Note
Lest you think these dark chocolate taffy flowers are Tootsie Rolls gone to finishing school, allow us to disabuse you of that notion. (Well, okay, maybe in a loosely inspired sort of way, yes, this dark chocolate taffy is what Tootsie Rolls can only aspire to be. But that’s where the similarity ends.) Sneak a rich, satiating, chocolate taffy fleur alongside mom’s morning espresso, perch it on her Mother’s Day cake, or leave it on her pillow. You wouldn’t do that with a Tootsie Roll, would you?
Dark Chocolate Taffy Flowers
- 3 cups finely chopped high-quality dark chocolate
- 3/4 cup corn syrup (or substitute light agave nectar)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Melt the chocolate in a stainless-steel bowl placed over a pan of simmering water, being careful not to let the bowl touch the water. Stir in the corn syrup, vanilla, and salt. Remove from the heat and allow the mixture to cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally. The chocolate should come together with the consistency of pie dough and become more flexible as you stir and work it.
- Turn the mixture onto a work surface covered with parchment paper and roll to 1/4 inch thick. (If the chocolate taffy sticks to the rolling pin, cover it with a second sheet of parchment or a piece of plastic wrap.) Shape the chocolate into a large disk, then form it into 4 smaller disks. (If the taffy is too soft to hold its shape, chill it for about 20 minutes and it will hold its shape more readily. You can wrap each disk in plastic wrap and then store them in a resealable plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to 1 month, or in the freezer for up to 6 months.)
- At this point you can shape the chocolate taffy into just about anything you please. We’re going to explain how to create lovely flowers. First, line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Using a rolling pin, roll out a disk of taffy on a piece of parchment to between 1/4 inch and 1/8 inch thick. Cut small circles in the taffy using the back of a pastry-bag tip. (If you don’t have a pastry-bag tip, use a bottle top from a milk jug or anything that cuts uniform circles about 1 inch in diameter.)
- Separate the circles (which we will henceforth call petals) on the parchment and flatten the outer edges of each petal with the back of a cold spoon until the edges are almost transparent. Peel the first petal off the parchment (a small spatula helps with this job) and roll it tightly, like a cigar. Pick up the next petal and wrap it around the first one, pinching the two together at the base. Each petal should get successively looser and wider, mimicking the way a rose bloom opens. (Six or so petals ought to do the trick.) Place the completed rose on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining taffy, rolling the scraps if you like and using them, too. Cover the baking sheet with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 1 month or freeze for up to 6 months.
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
I tested this dark chocolate taffy flowers recipe to decorate a cake at school. I’ve done this sort of “plastic chocolate” in the past. I liked the recipe’s easy instructions for mixing the plastic. It says it takes 20 minutes, but after chopping the chocolate and measuring the few other ingredients, which took about 5 minutes, the rest was just letting the chocolate sit over the hot water to melt. Then a minute or 2 to combine. I didn’t use parchment and it didn’t stick. I simply scraped it up off my worktable with a bench scraper, as it wasn’t especially sticky. I’m not sure the rose-forming instructions are as clear if you’re just reading them, but if you’re forming the roses at the same time you’re reading the instructions, there’s a certain logic to it. The taffy is pretty flexible and it’s simple to reform. Making the roses neat just takes a little practice. Plus, I think they look prettier if they aren’t all exactly the same shape and size. I think the recipe would make about 40 little roses as it says. Admittedly I gave up when I had the dozen I needed. And I made some smaller and some larger. And I didn’t roll it all at once. After the first half dozen I actually didn’t roll the taffy at all. I just pinched off pieces and smeared them out into circles with an offset spatula and my fingers. The spatula is very handy for scraping the taffy petals from your work surface, too. I stored the leftovers in the refrigerator in one fat disk, wrapped in plastic. It got pretty hard, but it was easy to slice off a piece and carefully warm it in the microwave for just a few seconds until it was pliable enough to reknead. I used 8 or 9 petals for most of my roses and 12 for the bigger roses. Frankly, although the roses are pretty, they lack the elegance of fondant or marzipan. Maybe they’d be more classic with white chocolate. Or maybe I just need more practice. I prefer to use this taffy for funkier shapes, like teddy bears, frogs, and alligators. Great kid appeal. You can work it just like marzipan.
I made these with two children, ages 9 and 7, and we’ll make them again. Flattening the petals is a bit tricky, so we had a system with ice water for the metal spoon and to cool our fingertips. We were a messy bunch, but we had fun and made a beautiful large rose for a birthday present—a lovely presentation, very well received. Rolling the dough to 1/4 inch was too thick, so we rolled to about 1/8 inch. To cut, we used cordial glasses first, but the roses were bigger than we wanted. So we cleaned the top of a soy sauce bottle cap well, and used that. I used the cold metal spoon to flatten out the petals. Six chocolate petals make a pretty rosebud. This part is really, really fun. We used Lindt 85% dark chocolate and agave syrup instead of corn syrup because that was in the pantry. And, no they didn’t taste like Tootsie Rolls. They’re delicious.
Originally published May 9, 2013