Chocolate Dipped Strawberries
18 large strawberries, with fresh, beautiful greens, and if possible, long stems
16 oz milk, semisweet, or bittersweet chocolate – best quality
1) Line a large tray with parchment paper or a silicone mat – set aside.
2) Wash and thoroughly dry the strawberries – make sure the greens are dry as well. Let sit until they reach room temperature. Meanwhile, temper the chocolate.
3) Roughly chop about 2/3 of the chocolate – keep the remainder in a large piece or two. Place the chocolate into the top of a double boiler over barely simmering (not boiling!) water – make sure the water is not touching the bottom of the bowl. Melt the chocolate completely – don’t overheat. An instant read thermometer should read about 100F.
4) Remove the top of the double boiler from the base and set on a kitchen towel. Add the remaining large pieces of chocolate to the melted chocolate and use a spoon to stir the chocolate till it's melted and smooth. The large piece of chocolate should mostly melt, but not completely – if needed add more to help cool and “seed” the chocolate so it tempers properly and sets shiny and crisp. Chocolate should cool until thermometer reads 82F (it will start to set & thicken). Place the bowl briefly over the simmering water to bring the temperature up to 88F then remove from the hot water – it’s ready for dipping!
5) Hold a strawberry gently by its stem, and swirl it in the chocolate to coat all sides. Lift and allow the excess chocolate to drip off (or lightly scrape it off with a small spoon). Place the dipped berry onto the parchment lined tray. If you plan to apply sprinkles or chocolate curls to garnish, sprinkle them on now.
6) Repeat with the remaining berries, spacing them on the parchment lined tray so they don't touch.
7) Set aside at cool room temperature to set (or if you are in a rush, refrigerate the berries until set). These are best served the day they are made – store, if needed, in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
• DRY YOUR BERRIES!! Even a drop or two of water/liquid can cause your beautifully tempered chocolate to seize. Dry dry dry…then dry some more…
• Use the best chocolate and the best berries you can find. It’s a simple combination that highlights the quality of your ingredients. Choose fun/flavored chocolates too if you want to be adventurous – just make sure they aren’t filled with ganache or caramel, as those will not temper when melted. 60-65% dark chocolate is a perfect choice
• Look for ripe but not overripe berries with no blemishes. Chocolate contains sugar which will pull the juice out of the berry if there are big blemishes or soft spots.
• White chocolate makes an elegant garnish – look for one that lists cocoa butter in the ingredients and it can be simply melted and drizzled on for a refined finish, no tempering required.
• Use any contrasting chocolate to garnish - milk chocolate drizzled onto dark, dark chocolate drizzled onto milk…white chocolate with either (or both!) for contrast…if you don’t have time to temper a second chocolate, use a vegetable peeler to make small shavings and sprinkle them on before the berries set.
• It’s easiest to work with a good amount of melted tempered chocolate – you will probably have a little left over. Scrape it out onto clean parchment to set and save to use in another recipe, or have some pretzels on hand to dip the leftover chocolate it, which reminds me….
• Think outside the berry – marshmallows, rice krispie treats, pretzels, small cookies, dried fruit…if it’s a gift dipping an assortment the recipient’s favorite things makes it even more thoughtful, special and delicious.