Nothing says Valentine's Day like chocolate-covered strawberries! Those red, heart-shaped fruits, that melted chocolate, together in one sweet, scrumptious bite. They're undeniable. But if you've ever tried making them, you may have discovered there are a few tricks to getting them right without ending up with a weird, lumpy, melted chocolate mess.
But don't worry. You can do this! Here are 9 tips to making your chocolate-covered strawberry dreams come true.
Have everything out and ready to go. In addition to your strawberries and melted chocolate, have a cookie sheet lined with waxed or parchment paper ready before you get started. Make sure you've already cleared a space in your refrigerator -- says the cook who has made that mistake too many times.
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Pick your berries well. Look over your batch of strawberries before you get started. Make sure they're ripe enough to be flavorful (biting into a greenish strawberry, sad face!) but not so ripe that they're mushy. Check for soft spots.
Room-temp berries. Don't keep the berries chilled. Instead, let them sit out until they're room temperature.
Dry your strawberries. You'll want to wash your berries, of course. But make sure you pat-dry them thoroughly. Water on the berries will cause the chocolate to "seize" -- get all clotted and lose its smooth texture.
Leave the leaves. You could try cutting off the leaves and stem and using a toothpick to dip, but that's a little tricky. I've found it easier to just keep the leaves and stem on and use them to dip the berries. I also like that contrast you get from the green -- it makes the red of the berries stand out more.
Use chocolate and butter. Just melted chocolate chips will work fine, but adding butter to your melted chocolate chips makes for a smoother, more dip-able texture. Melt together 2 teaspoons of butter for 8 ounces of chocolate. You could just buy "dip-able" chocolate, but it's probably made with shortening. Just saying.
Make a double boiler. I don't have a double boiler, so I'll put some water in a small saucepan and nestle a Pyrex bowl over it. The water should be high enough to surround most of the bowl, but not so high that it's in danger of blurping up into the bowl of chocolate if the water boils. Try to keep the water at a low simmer, not a rolling boil.
Shake and tip. After you dip your berry into the melted chocolate as far as you can, give it a little shake to shake off extra chocolate and cover any missed spots. Then tip the berry upside down to cover more of the berry closer to the leaves.
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Chill in the fridge, but don't keep refrigerated. Once you're finished dipping your berries, they'll need about 15-30 minutes to chill and harden in the refrigerator. But chocolate does not like to stay cold for long -- it can get white and chalky. So keep your berries in an airtight container in another cool place.
Have you ever made chocolate-covered strawberries? Got any tips to share?
Image via somegeekintn/Flickr