There's something really wonderful about the combination of flavors in a sweetly ripe strawberry covered with rich chocolate. As much as I love chocolate dipped strawberries, this is the first time I've ever tried to make my own! I think I was afraid of the chocolate melting process. Well, I'm over that hump now.
Melting the Chocolate
The first obstacle is that all the recipes for melting chocolate call for special doo-dads and fancy gee-gaws. A double boiler. A heat resistant bowl. Candy thermometer. Tempering the chocolate. Well, I'm here to tell you one-dot cooks like myself, none of the fancy accoutrement are necessary. Wanna see what I used?
I opted for this not-very-attractive, but extremely cheap (it's what I had in the cupboard) solution: two old pans, one set inside/atop the other. No thermometer, no tempering, no special doo-dads at all. It doesn't get much simpler than this. And my strawberries were delish.
The bottom pan held about 2 inches of water, boiled and then set to simmer. The top pan was big enough to just sit on the rim of the bottom pan, so it acted just like a double boiler.
I did need to tip the top pan when I did my dipping, especially when it got down to the last of the chocolate, but as long as the top pan doesn't touch the water or get directly onto the burner, and no steam from the bottom pan gets into your chocolate, you're ok.
The idea here is to keep the chocolate from scalding. You don't have to have fancy equipment. One note, though, if you use a highly heat-conductive pan, like I did, you do have to stir the chocolate frequently as it melts.
5 ounces dark chocolate
5 ounces milk chocolate
1 pound strawberries, whole, with leaves
Boil the water in the lower pan. Place the second pan on top, with the chocolate in it, and lower the heat to allow the water to just barely simmer. Stir frequently as the chocolate melts. Add flavoring if desired. I added 1/2 tsp orange extract. Almond extract would be delish, as would a smidgy of Southern Comfort.
(In case you're wondering why my strawberry photos have bumps in the chocolate, this is the same chocolate I used for the Orange Lace Cookies, and there was melted Krackle candy bar in the mixture. I REALLY liked the added texture, but crunchy might not be to everybody's taste.)
Do I have to say wash and dry the strawberries? Hmmm, well, washing should be assumed, but drying is important so the chocolate adheres better, and to prevent any water from getting into the melted chocolate and ruining the consistency (something called "seizing").
Place a sheet of wax paper on a cookie sheet. Dip strawberries by holding onto the leaves and giving a little twirl as you lift it out of the chocolate. Place dipped strawberries on the cookie sheet, and set in refrigerater to cool and harden. I chose not to fully coat the strawberries, because I like seeing a bit of red fruit there, but many folx like to completely cover the strawberry with chocolate.
Some recipes call for shortening, or paraffin. I don't think that's necessary. But, in case you want to try other recipes, here are a few:
* Food Network's Chocolate Dipped Strawberries - the fancy way, uses heavy cream & butter
* Chocolate Covered Strawberries - uses milk chocolate chips and shortening
* Microwave Chocolate Dipped Strawberries - bypass the pans - nuke that chocolate
* Chocolate Covered Strawberries - uses Crisco
* Chocolate Covered Strawberries - uses butter