Make your own chocolate baskets for Easter (and more!)
For Easter, I wanted to make a unique and edible center piece for the tables and to give as gifts to friends and family. I decided chocolate baskets filled with goodies would be just the thing to keep with the traditional Easter gift but I wanted to give it my own spin. I looked online and found a few molds to make baskets but that wasn’t exactly what I was looking for, so I had to come up with something on my own. I needed a round form that could act as a mold for the melted chocolate that could easily be removed and it came to me… balloons!
First, blow up your balloons (I did two at a time) and place them in a bowl to hold them upright. I blew the balloons up to be between 6-8 inches tall. I wouldn’t make them too much bigger than that but you could definitely go smaller. Small balloons would make really cute individual chocolate baskets to set at a place setting or to give as a shower favor. Melt the chocolate of your choice (candy melts work best) however you wish (I used the microwave) and then put the melted chocolate inside of a gallon-sized Ziploc bag and twist the bag to get all the chocolate in the tip.
Chica told me later that I could have saved some bowl-washing time by melting the chocolate directly inside the opened Ziploc bag. I think I will do that next time!
Wait a few minutes to let the chocolate cool just a bit and then snip off a tiny corner of the bag. Then cover the bottom of the balloon with the chocolate by going back and forth in one direction and then in the opposite way. Cover about half of the exposed balloon, filling in any holes along the bottom of the balloon so you have a nice, solid chocolate bottom. The chocolate will drip down the sides making a really neat drip effect when the balloon dries.
Now move the chocolate-covered balloons immediately to a cold area so they can cool as fast as possible. If you fail to do this, and are unfortunate enough to have the balloon pop from the heat, you will end up with chocolate all over your kitchen! This makes a terrible mess, as the following picture shows, although it hardly does it justice. Days later, my daughter pointed out chocolate on the far wall that I hadn’t even noticed before!
After the chocolate thoroughly hardens, remove the covered balloon from the bowl carefully. You might have to slide a knife around the edge to loosen the dripped chocolate from the sides of the bowl. Once you remove the balloon, cut a hole in the top of it to deflate it. The balloon will still be attached to the inside of the chocolate. Very slowly peel the balloon away from the chocolate.
The bottom of your basket will have a nice texture to it from the back-and-forth motion you used with the melted chocolate before, so it will look like a basket. You may also choose to decorate it further by drizzling on more melted chocolate in a contrasting color, like I did with white.
I also used the melted white chocolate to write messages inside of the bowls. You can write a person’s name, a message, draw a picture or make an interesting design. Try using chocolate of different colors to make the baskets, coordinating the colors with a wedding or baby shower.
Your chocolate basket is now complete and ready to be filled! Fill it with shredded colored coconut and chocolate eggs to make an Easter basket, or pile it full of coordinating candy to make a shower gift or a Thank You gift. I made Chica a basket and filled it with her favorite, dark chocolate M&Ms!
Finish the gift off by wrapping it in iridescent cellophane. Once the basket is wrapped, be sure that you only pick it up by the bottom and not by the tied cellophane because the chocolate edges are very delicate and will break off if you are not careful.
For a chocolate fondue dessert party, make a bunch of the chocolate bowls to hold all of your dipping tidbits such as strawberries, sliced banana, cream puffs, pound cake, bite-sized cheesecake, raspberries and pretzel sticks.
WARNING! If you are giving these as a gift, please make sure that the recipient is not allergic to latex. Even a small amount of exposure to the balloons could be life-threatening if you are allergic.