Chocolate cigarettes

Chocolate cigarettes

PS Desserts
Mark Roper

Chocolate curls, cigarettes and plaques make for lovely light garnishes that complement and add a little theatre to chocolate desserts and cakes. It might take some time to master but keep practising. For curls and cigarettes, you don’t have to go to the trouble of tempering the chocolate, while plaques are well worth the eff ort for their wow factor and the “crack” that they add to desserts when you bite into them. The great thing about working with chocolate is that if you do make a mistake you can just scrape it all up and re-use it! You can make all of these ahead of time and pull them out when you need to end the night with a flourish.


Quantity Ingredient
200g best-quality dark couverture chocolate


  1. Finely chop or grate the chocolate and melt in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of barely simmering water. Let more than half of the chocolate melt before you give it a stir with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula.
  2. Remove from the heat and stir until smooth and shiny. The temperature of the chocolate should be 50–55ºC for dark couverture, no more than 50ºC for milk chocolate and no more than 45ºC for white.
  3. Allow to cool to 35ºC.
  4. Heat a large, clean, heavy-based roasting tray or baking tray in a 180ºC oven. Remove after several minutes and place upside down on a work surface. Allow to cool until you can leave the palm of your hand on the surface for 5 seconds. This ensures the chocolate will spread evenly and not set straight away.
  5. Spread the chocolate evenly over the tray using a large step-palette knife. The layer should be about 0.5 mm thick or as thin as you can get it.
  6. Now place the tray in the fridge for about 10 minutes or until set.
  7. Remove the tray from the fridge and leave at room temperature for several minutes.
  8. Using a scraper, push the chocolate away from you using short rapid movements. The chocolate should roll into slender cigarettes. Leave them on the tray. If the chocolate crumbles or cracks, it needs to sit at room temperature for longer. If it doesn’t curl up but rather comes off the tray in sheets, it has become too warm and needs to be returned to the fridge to firm up a little.
  9. Once you have made the cigarettes, return the tray to the fridge until the cigarettes have hardened. They can then be gently removed from the tray.
  10. Keep the cigarettes in a sealed container in the fridge or freezer.


  • These beautiful, shiny, crisp plaques add a satisfying snap to my Snickers and Raspberry and Chocolate Délice. They are also a wonderful decoration on cakes and mousses.

    Acetate is flexible transparent plastic film and is available from craft or specialty kitchenware stores.

    I use white chocolate curls to decorate my sablé breton with roasted figs, white chocolate mousse and port.
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