Create the perfect centerpiece for that special dessert buffet.
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16 to 20 ounces high quality semi-sweet real chocolate, melted, cooled (but not set)
Wrap outside of 1 to 1 1/2-quart souffle dish or other flat-bottomed dish with heavy-duty aluminum foil covering bottom and sides. Press aluminum foil firmly and smoothly over dish, leaving 1 to 2-inch edge around base (top of dish). Crimp edge away from bowl. Set covered dish on baking sheet with bottom (covered with aluminum foil) up.
Fit pastry bag with #10 writing tip; fill with melted, cooled chocolate. Starting in center bottom of covered dish (this will be the bottom of the basket) pipe radiating lines, about 1/2 inch apart, over bottom and down sides of dish. Refrigerate 10 minutes or until chocolate is firm.
Pipe pinwheel circles around bottom of dish on top of first chocolate lines. Pipe horizontal lines (circles), about 1/2 inch apart, around sides of dish, forming a woven appearance and ending just above aluminum foil, but not touching 1 to 2-inch edge. Refrigerate 15 minutes or until chocolate is firm.
Pipe third layer of chocolate over first layer of chocolate (radiating lines). Refrigerate 30 minutes or until chocolate is very firm.
Remove basket from refrigerator; trim any excess chocolate from edge of basket with sharp knife. Carefully lift aluminum foil and chocolate basket from dish. Place basket right-side up on parchment or waxed paper-lined baking sheet; gently remove aluminum foil, handling chocolate basket as little as possible.
Decoratively pipe chocolate edging around top edge of basket. Refrigerate for 10 to 15 minutes or until firm.
To make handle for basket (optional), line large baking sheet with parchment or waxed paper. Measure diameter (width) of dish; draw straight line on parchment paper equal to diameter of dish. Connect ends of line with arch (arch will be pattern for handle). Pipe chocolate in zigzag pattern over arch shape. Pipe a second zigzag layer of chocolate over arch, creating woven effect. Refrigerate 15 minutes or until firm. Carefully peel parchment paper from handle; place handle flat-side up on parchment paper. Repeat zigzag layers of chocolate as for first side of handle. Refrigerate 15 minutes or until firm.
To assemble basket, remove handle from parchment paper. Attach handle to basket with dollops of melted chocolate. Gently support handle until chocolate is set and handle is stable. Additional melted chocolate can be spread around base of handle. Refrigerate 30 minutes until firm.
To serve, fill with chocolate-dipped fruit, nuts or cookies.
To store chocolate basket, place in large bowl. Cover; refrigerate.
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