Don’t these chocolate butterflies set your heart a-flutter? The graceful bend of their wings really makes them look like they’re about to take flight–and the trick to DIY-ing that 3-D curve is unbelievably simple! We used the spine of an open book as a mold to create these almost-too-pretty-to-eat chocolate butterflies.
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Did you know that a group of butterflies is called a “kaleidoscope”? That also seems like the perfect word to describe the effect of a rainbow swarm of chocolate butterflies fluttering atop a colorful layer cake. These delicate decorations are also ideal for topping frosted sugar cookies or cupcakes. Did you drool over our cupcake bouquet recipe? Try perching a few of these lacey creatures on yours to really make it come alive!
We were really pleased with the way brown chocolate looked on top of bright orange frosting–just like a bold monarch butterfly! But you can play with different varieties of butterflies using colored candy melts. (Just make sure you follow the instructions on the package for how to melt and set them.) You can also add food coloring to white chocolate chips to make butterflies in different shades, but stick to oil- or fat-based food dye because water-based food coloring will make the mixture seize up. No matter what color your choose, no one is going to believe that you didn’t buy these chocolate butterflies at a fancy bakery.
Makes 12 butterflies
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
- 1 cup chocolate chips (white, dark, milk, or semisweet), divided
- Wax paper
- Print-out line drawing of a butterfly (or draw your own!)
- Permanent marker
- Zip-top bag (or pastry piping bag)
- Book (one that will stay open)
Lay a piece of wax paper over your butterfly pattern and trace the butterfly using a permanent marker. If you’re making multiple butterflies, you will need to trace a new piece of wax paper for each butterfly.
Flip the wax paper over and lightly grease it to cover the pattern.
Using a microwave or double boiler, melt ¾ of the chocolate chips until chocolate is completely melted and smooth. Add in the remaining chocolate chips and stir together until all the chocolate is melted and smooth. If needed, return to the microwave or double boiler and heat in 10-second intervals until the chocolate is just melted. This will keep the chocolate in temper and ensure a chocolate butterfly with snap. Alternatively, you can just melt all of the chocolate at the same time.
Transfer the melted chocolate to a pastry bag or a zip-top bag. Cut a small hole in the tip of the bag. Test the size of the hole by squeezing a little chocolate out to make sure that it is flowing easily and in even lines. If the lines are squiggly, cut a slightly larger hole from the end of your bag.
Pipe the chocolate to trace the butterfly pattern on the wax paper. You want the pattern to look delicate, but if it is too delicate the butterflies will break easily. Repeat the process until you have traced all of your butterfly patterns. If you run out of chocolate before you finish, you can melt more chocolate and continue the process (it will not affect the butterflies if they are covered with chocolate from different batches).
To give the butterflies a natural looking curve to their wings, place the finished butterflies in an open book to set. Make sure the body of the butterfly sits in the spine of the open book.
It is best to leave the chocolate to set at room temperature for at least an hour, but if you are in a rush you can place the butterflies in the freezer for 2-3 minutes. Do not forget them in the freezer or the condensation that forms as they warm up will damage the chocolate and cause it to bloom.
Once the chocolate has set, very gently remove the butterflies from the wax paper. Try to avoid touching the chocolate too much because the heat from your hands will begin to melt it.
You can store chocolate butterflies in a sealed plastic container for several weeks in a cool place.
Use your chocolate butterflies to top cupcakes or your favorite cold dessert.
We’ve even seen people using this same technique to create lovely (inedible) butterfly decorations for flower pots or string lights: instead of chocolate, pipe hot glue into the shape of a butterfly on wax paper, and spray paint it when the glue dries. Let us know where your butterflies land!