National Chocolate-Covered Anything Day

Did the title make your toes curl?
Mine too!

And, thanks to other chocolate radicals out there, this is only one of many chocolate holidays celebrated throughout the year.

There's also National Chocolate Day, National Milk Chocolate Day, National Bittersweet Chocolate with Almonds Day, and National White Chocolate Day (seriously?), to name a few.

In any case, Marsha from Marsha-Kitchen is having a chocolate party, and you're all invited.

How many treats did I cover in chocolate, you ask? Well, uh...one.
I covered a single cake. Not too adventurous, true. But cake was what I craved at the time.

Besides, everything on the cake is chocolate. From the creamy ganache, and chocolate plastic bow, to the pine cone petals. Harmony is once again, restored to the universe, right?

The pine cone petals were made first, using dark chocolate, which was melted in the microwave, at 50% power, and stirred every 12 to 15 seconds.

Chocolate 'blobs' were smeared onto parchment paper, with the aid of an offset spatula. It took 10 ounces of chocolate, to cover the 9-inch cake halves.

I baked my favorite Almond Cake in a large, two-piece, egg-shaped pan.
Once cooled, I placed each half onto a cake board, and covered them with a whipped, dark chocolate ganache.
While the ganache was still soft, I placed the pine cone petals onto each cake, starting at the narrow end, and slightly overlapping each row, covering the entire cake.

The Chocolate Plastic Bow was made from a recipe I've shared on just about every cake decorating site on the interwebz, since 1995.

You may already have a recipe for chocolate plastic (which, btw, goes by many other names: chocolate clay, chocolate paper, chocolate paste, etc.), but this is the recipe I started using before dinosaurs roamed the earth, and it's always been very consistent. Give it a try.

Chocolate Plastic

1 lb. white, bittersweet, or semisweet chocolate
½ cup glucose
2 teaspoons ice water

Melt chocolate, stirring often. This can be done gently, in a microwave, at 50% power. Or, in a double boiler.
Once chocolate is melted, stir in glucose and mix in lightly. Add water. Stir again, until incorporated, but don't overmix. Spread chocolate mixture onto a plastic wrap-lined platter. Cover tightly, and allow mixture to ripen 8 hours, or overnight, until firm. Knead before using.
If the chocolate plastic sets too hard, soften it in the microwave, for only a few seconds at a time, until soft enough to knead. It should be very smooth and malleable.

The white chocolate paste can be tinted with paste, or powdered food coloring.

Note: I've always used Lindt Chocolate for chocolate plastic. But Callebaut, and even Baker's chocolate would be fine.

To make the bow, get some sponge curlers, like the ones your mom used to wear to bed every night. Remove the plastic clip, and use the sponges to support your chocolate bow, until completely set.

You can add interest to chocolate plastic by using textured rolling pins, available in cake decorating shops, or online.

For the tails, just roll out chocolate paste to 1/8 inch. If you like, place them on sponge rollers to shape, as pictured, or keep them flat.

What? Not enough love in my post?

Well here, stick your face in this...

And, if you're not a chocolate fan, well then, we just can't be friends. But I'll forgive you, and suggest you go to a teddy bear near you, and just squeeze.

The world may not be all sunshine and rainbows, but chocolate helps.