Chocolate Fruit Baskets

As if the food around the holidays isn't yummy enough, we have to enhance it by making it all utterly visually irresistible, too, right? And it doesn't help matters when the process is really quite easy.

I've simply reconciled myself to a New Year's resolution of having to lose the 10 pounds I'm going to gain in December. Nothing new, happens every year...

Doesn't this just make you drool? I'm not a big cook/baker, but if you can disguise the process in the form of a "craft," then I enjoy it a lot more. Follow along and I'll show you how to make these adorable and yummy Chocolate Baskets.

For ingredients, you'll need a package of the chocolate of your choice. I use regular chocolate chips for mine. I've used the almond bark but wasn't as pleased with the result. You can experiment with different chocolates yourself, and you'll just have to eat your mistakes. Not a bad consequence, if you ask me.

For supplies, you'll need a plastic baggie or an icing bag, a basket form such as a cupcake pan, and some plastic wrap.

Begin by lining the form with the plastic wrap. I used cupcake pans for my form. I moistened the pan slightly before I applied the plastic so that it would stick nicely. I accomplished a very nice application simply by pressing a second cupcake pan onto the first to mold the plastic in place. I've also lined with aluminum foil before, but it doesn't remove as easily and ends up breaking a number of baskets.

Next, place your chocolate in the baggie and heat to melting. Don't overheat.

Cut a tiny hole in the tip of the baggie. Begin drizzling the chocolate over the mold in a random fashion. Check for large gaps.

The finished form should have a basket look -- not solid, and with fairly consistently-sized holes.

When finished with a tray, place the tray in a place to cool. I put mine in the freezer to speed the process. Or today, I could have just put them outside for 5 minutes. Brrr!

When the chocolate has hardened, remove the baskets from the mold by gently tugging on the plastic wrap. NOTE: Since I lightly moistened the pan to get the plastic wrap to set, I had to wait a few minutes for the metal pan to warm slightly, as the plastic wrap was frozen to the pan.

The plastic wrap should come off fairly easily, with the chocolate baskets intact.

Next, pull the plastic wrap from the chocolate. Be especially careful at the edges of the basket, so you don't chip away any chocolate. If you do mess up a basket, you can simply remelt and try again, or eat it to hide the evidence.

Your completed baskets should be somewhat firm and able to be gently handled. After the first few tries, you should have an idea of whether you need to adjust your weave.

And now they're ready for piling with some festive treats!

I love to use fresh fruits and berries! It's so colorful, with the added bonus of being especially yummy and at least remotely healthy.

Give it a try! They'll be the hit of your next party! And I'm sure your family and friends won't mind being your guinea pigs while you practice.

And be sure to check out the endless list of inspirational ideas at my home page

I'll be linking to some of the fabulous link parties listed on the right sidebar ... but really, that's a LOT of parties! I probably won't get to them all, but you should stop in and visit a few yourself. While you're at it, stop by my home page and add a few links of your own!