A few weeks ago my friend Chie taught me how to make chocolate butterflies, and from that moment I knew Rei NEEDED butterfly cupcakes at her first birthday party. Chie found the idea at

cookpad.com

, but the instructions are lost on me - the whole site is in Japanese! I thought I'd write up a tutorial myself, in English, for those of us who don't have the good sense to be multilingual.

Pretty AND delicious!

Learn to make easy, fast, and beautiful chocolate butterflies after the jump!

You will need:

  • Chocolate chips (the less tasty, more waxy melting chocolate from the bulk bin is best) in your choice of colour.
  • A ziploc freezer bag.
  • Parchment paper.
  • 8 1/2" x 11" (or thereabouts) card stock.

Prep:

  • Fold your card stock lengthwise down the centre. Open it up to about a ninety degree angle.
  • Cut sheets of parchment paper about the same size as your card stock, and crease them down the middle.
  • Make lots of room in your freezer.

Making the butterflies:

  • Heat a bowl of water in the microwave for about two minutes - long enough to get the water hot but not boiling. Meanwhile, fill your ziploc bag with a big handful of chocolate chips.
  • Spread the chocolate out in a single layer in the bottom of the bag and set the bag in the hot water. Turn the bag over a few times and smush the chocolate around until it is all melted - no lumps!
  • Squeeze all the chocolate into one corner of the bag, and, holding it like a pastry bag, snip off the corner. You only want to snip a tiny bit off - you want a hole that is small enough to be precise, but large enough that the chocolate can flow easily through it.
  • You will be drawing your butterfly on the parchment paper, using the crease as a guide for the centre of the butterfly's body. Start by drawing a stick in that crease, then add wings on either side. Try for symmetry, but don't worry too much. You want to keep your hand moving in a steady, flowing motion so you don't get any lumps or thin spots.

Photographing oneself doing this is tricky, hence the lumps. This butterfly was a taste test sacrifice. Yum!

  •  You can probably get about three 2 1/2" butterflies on one page of parchment paper. Let your butterflies sit for just a moment, so the chocolate can cool a little bit. Gently lift your parchment and set it into your folded card stock, lining up the crease in the paper with the fold in the card stock. This folding lifts the wings of the butterflies.
  • Put your butterflies in the freezer to harden (using various items from your freezer to prop the card stock up if necessary). Leave them at least three minutes - or longer if you have time. You will know your butterflies are ready when their wings peel easily away from the parchment paper.

Frozen bananas make great props ;)

  • Experiment with different shapes and styles of butterfly! I also had great success making dragonflies - they looked very dramatic with their long wings and were quite popular with the gentlemen at the party.
  • Decorate cupcakes, cakes and more! Keep your little works of art in the freezer until you are ready to use them, and try no to handle them any more than necessary. They break very easily, especially if they are thin or large. 

I made a few cupcake toppers with Rei's name instead of a butterfly - they were easy as pie (just write in cursive on the parchment, avoiding the crease, and freeze) and turned a plate of pretty cupcakes into a birthday party centrepiece!

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