How to Make Chocolate Leaves...

I recently made a Chocolate Pumpkin Cake which had a striking orange did however still look a little plain when it was finished. So I decided to add an Autumnal touch by making some chocolate leaves.
Chocolate leaves were actually a lot easier to make than I thought. I used rose leaves which have a nice veining to them and are also non-toxic. Other popular leaves for this use are bay, lemon or camellia.
The first job is to thoroughly wash the leaves. I used a little soapy water and then patted the leaves dry using kitchen towel. Some other methods suggest you can just wipe your leaves with a damp kitchen cloth.
I then melted down my chocolates - white, milk and dark in separate bowls on top of simmering saucepans of water. You could also use a microwave for this. I'm not a chocolate expert and did not temper my chocolate...I simply melted it and it worked for me.

Next take a brush designed for cake decorating or use with edible products...or a pastry brush and liberally cover the BACK of each leaf with chocolate. The easiest way to do this is by picking each leaf up individually by the gets rather messy if you leave the leaf on the baking paper as you can see took me a little while to realise this! By painting the back of the leaf it gives a more defined vein pattern. Once the leaf is painted place it on a baking tray covered in baking paper.
Put a good coating of chocolate on the leaf but take care not to get it on the other side as this makes it a lot more difficult to peel the leaf away when the chocolate is set. Once all the leaves are coated leave to set. I actually put mine in the feezer briefly...again this is probably frowned upon but it worked for me...but don't quote me on it!
When the chocolate is set peel away the leaves and discard. You may need to do this fairly quickly as I found a few of the leaves melted as I held on to them.
Finally, if you wish to add a final glamorous touch to your leaves then you can add a little gold edible lustre dust or spary. This sets the leaves off really well if placed on a chocolate cake as they then stand out against the brown.
Interestingly after I'd made my leaves I also found instructions for chocolate leaves in the latest Great British Bake Off book 'Showstoppers'. It's on p.275 and the book also provides information on tempering chocolate. These were pretty easy to make and provide a really pretty decoration. I'll definitely make them again in the future!