Lynn Maleh is a friend of mine who's a foodie and a USC Graduate. She wrote this for "The Chocolate Life" on behalf of [Editor: Link to site deleted - obvious shilling for traffic to a non-chocolate site].
By virtue of being a chocolate lover, I already know you’re a disciple of decadence. Some prefer over-the-top indulgences like bright red convertibles, while others seek out physical ones like aromatherapy massages, but if you’re an Epicurean (like myself), there is no indulgence sweeter than a single chocolate truffle with an unexpected filling and a shell adorned as if for royalty.
So how do you deck out your homemade chocolate truffles in pure princess fashion? While a miniature Kate Middleton-inspired hat might be an original touch, edible gold flakes provide the regality, without so much of the kitsch.
Before you start melting your old gold jewelry in a saucepan, know that edible gold leaf, just like all gourmet ingredients, requires proper handling and safety precautions. So for all you aspiring kitchen Midases, below are some answers to your frequently asked gold leaf questions.
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Wait a minute… is it really gold?
You may have some mental barriers preventing you from ingesting gold, but rest assured, there are no biological barriers stopping you. Yes, edible gold flakes are made from real gold, yes, gold is “biologically inert” and thus absorbable by the human digestive tract, but no, that does not mean your kids should be licking grandmas’ old watch. It is recommended to stick to the purest possible gold, between 22 and 24 carats, as impurities come with health risks. Fortunately, most packaged edible gold falls into the 22-24 carat category.
Where do I buy edible gold leaf?
Edible gold leaf can be purchased from specialty baking stores. You can often find gold leaf at specialty art stores; just make sure the gold is edible-grade before cooking with it. Edible gold leaf can also be found online, through Amazon.com or any number of specialty gold retailers.
Edible gold leaf is packaged either as flakes or sheets. Flakes can be sprinkled on homemade chocolate truffles and other baked goods for decorative finishing touches. While edible gold sheets are very delicate and require a bit of patience, they can be used for covering entire surfaces or specific detailing.
How do I decorate my homemade truffles with gold leaf sheets?
Before we go into the detailing, you should know a few things about gold leaf. Gold leaf is very, VERY delicate. Slight wind, most surfaces, even your fingers can damage these paper thin sheets. It is recommended to wear cotton gloves while dealing with gold leaf sheets and to work with them directly from the packaging. Turn off any kitchen fans and keep windows closed to prevent wind-induced wrinkling.
For applying the gold leaf, you will need a sharp paring knife or a clean razor and a dry paintbrush. Use the paint brush to steady the sheet you are cutting and prevent from tears. Run the knife along the shape you are crafting and pick up the section using the tip of your blade (to prevent from sticking).
The brush will help you press the gold leaf from the blade onto your homemade truffle. Once the desired section of gold leaf is anchored, “paint” it in place with your brush. You can repeat this process for additional gold details or smooth a sheet over the entire surface of your truffle for a bold gold statement.
Just because the delicate decorating process is complete, don’t be careless with your precious gold creations. These candies should be stored and presented gently to avoid scratches or tears.
Bon appétit everyone!