We’ve got a chocolate and strawberry situation going on here.
I might need an intervention…I confess to eating some of these for breakfast!
Valentine’s Day is rapidly approaching so how about we skip all the expensive retail hoopla and make some Chocolate Covered Strawberries right in our own kitchens!
Melting and dipping. We can do that!
Here’s what you need:
Strawberries, Dark Chocolate, White Chocolate, Crisco/Vegetable Shortening (optional & not pictured)
This is the time to go get the good strawberries.
If you live in Florida, you’re in luck because strawberries are in season right now. If you’re me, you’re even more in luck because most of the strawberries in the state are grown just a few miles from my house. Yippee!
Unlike the Chocolate Covered Strawberries you will find in stores, I do not like to buy those big, gigantic strawberries on the stem.
Sure they look great, but they’re often pithy or hollow in the middle and don’t have much flavor. Buy the best smelling, reddest, ripest berries you can find.
Sometimes I get 2 boxes and pick out the best ones for covering with chocolate and leave the others for fruit salads or smoothies.
For this recipe, I’m using a quart of strawberries or about 20 berries.
The trick to getting the chocolate to STICK is to be sure your strawberries are completely and totally dry.
Rinse them to get those little hairs and seeds (and any dirt) off but then dry them thoroughly. I pick each berry up and dry them individually.
Dry them by hand and then let them sit and air dry some more while you melt the chocolate.
As I mentioned when I made Chocolate Mousse, I think the easiest and safest way to melt chocolate is in a double boiler.
Add a couple inches of water to a saucepan and bring it to a boil. Place a heat proof bowl over the pan being sure that the water does not touch the bottom of the bowl.
Once the water boils, turn the heat down to low so that it just simmers and warms the bowl gently. If you have tons of steam escaping, turn the heat down!
Add 1 cup of bittersweet dark chocolate chips to the top bowl of your double boiler and stir them gently as they start to melt.
Steam and water are the enemies of melting chocolate so be sure not to move your bowl around on the pot of simmering water.
If water gets into your chocolate, it will seize up into a clumpy mess. More on that later…yes, it happens to me too.
When the chocolate is silky and smooth, remove the bowl from the double boiler and stir the chocolate so that it starts to cool.
You’ll want to let the chocolate cool for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
When you’re ready to go, grab each strawberry gently by the leaves and dunk away.
Let the excess chocolate drip off the bottom of the berry and then place it on its side on a parchment lined baking sheet.
OOPS! Do you have chocolate puddles? I do.
When you see pools of chocolate under your berries, your chocolate is still too warm. Let it cool a bit more and then dip the remainder of the berries.
Once these berries had cooled a bit to set up, I moved them out of their puddles and onto a new piece of parchment paper.
You might have a few small puddles but you’ll soon find the right temperature where most of the chocolate will stay ON the strawberries.
Once your berries are dipped and in jaunty little rows, let them cool completely.
You can stop here (I usually do) and have perfectly wonderful Chocolate Covered Strawberries.
OR you can decide to be extra festive and add a few swirls of white chocolate.
I will tell you right now that I am not a fan of white chocolate. It’s not really chocolate so I have good reason for my bias.
But it does look pretty…But it’s a pain in the butt to melt…
Remember the seizing I was talking about earlier? Well, I went through 2 batches of white chocolate before I got mine to melt correctly.
Place 1/4 cup of white chocolate chips in the clean bowl of your double boiler and be sure the water is only simmering, not boiling and steaming.
If you are luckier than me, your chocolate will melt just as easily as the dark chocolate did.
However, if it starts to clump into a weird mess, add 1-2 teaspoons of Crisco or vegetable shortening and whisk like crazy.
Usually the extra fat from the shortening helps the white chocolate chips to melt more successfully.
If you’re doing a lot of baking or candy making with white chocolate, you will have more success if you buy chocolate in bars or blocks rather than in chips.
If you think about it, chips are made to hold their shape in cookies. That’s part of the reason white chocolate chips are so fussy to melt.
Let your white chocolate cool a bit and then spoon it in to a small ziplock bag.
Smoosh all the chocolate over to one side and then cut the tiniest end of the tip off of the OTHER side.
Don’t cut the tip off the side with the chocolate or you will have a mess gushing out.
Using broad strokes, gently squeeze the bag and go back and forth across your tray of Chocolate Covered Strawberries to make a festive decoration.
Use as much or as little as you’d like. Go in one direction or a couple of directions for a criss cross pattern.
I find it easiest to work across the whole sheet pan rather than going berry by berry.
Let the Chocolate Covered Strawberries cool completely at room temperature to set up and harden.
These are best if you can eat them right away. If you have to refrigerate them, be sure they are completely cool first. Even then, the berries and chocolate might sweat just a bit.
Give these to your sweetie and have a Happy Valentine’s Day!
Stay tuned tomorrow for the AWESOME result of melting too much chocolate!
Here’s the recipe: