Monday, January 23, 2012

Store Bought vs. Home Made - It's Strawberry Time!

Yesterday I stopped by Krogers to pick up my 2 weekly newspapers. When I was walking down past the registers a lady passed me carrying a tray with chocolate covered strawberries! They looked wonderful and of I'm sure my mouth was watering, however I did manage not to drool. I had planned to just get the papers and then I heard the lady mention to her friend about how much she loved them and they were going to be great for her afternoon party but the cost was ridiculous! I quickly turned away and made certain my filter was in place so I didn't tell her she could make them for a fraction of the cost. Then I headed to the produce section to grab a container of Strawberries!!!

We all know that chocolate covered strawberries are simply delish and there is also something elegant about them. When you walk into a dinner party or whatever and you see a display of chocolate covered strawberries it just makes you feel a little special! Well, folks, they are simple as can be to make and yes, a fraction of the cost. This recipe has to be the easiest recipe in the world and if Chef Gimpy here can make them then anyone can.

1 pound Strawberries ( wash them gently and leave the leaves on - they are prettier that way)
1 package (16 ounces) semi sweet chocolate morsels (any brand will do)
2 tablespoons shortening
That's all you need.

Now do not reach for your double boiler. It's actually better and easier to make this one with a glass bowl.

Grab you a pan and a glass bowl that slightly fits inside the pan but doesn't sink down into the pan. You need to bring the water to a full boil and you want the bowl sitting up on top but far enough down into the pan that the heat is reaching the bottom of it. Do not let your bowl sit in the water.

Now that you have your water starting to boil, take whatever you are going to use to put the strawberries on and put it in the freezer. I use a big metal pan but you can use a glass plate or platter or whatever. Just put it in the freezer and leave it there while you are waiting for the chocolate to melt. You don't need wax paper if you do this.

Put the 2 tablespoons of Crisco in the bottom of the bowl and pour the chocolate morsels on top. Now this will take a little bit for the chocolate to melt. Just be patient. You need a whisk to stir the chocolate. Don't use a spoon for this, the whisk is the best tool! After a while (remember this takes a little time for the chocolate to melt) when you see the chocolate is pretty melted stire it with the whisk very well. You might want to wear a piece of clothing with long sleeves so that any steam coming up around the bowl doesn't burn your arms.

Once your chocolate is good and melted and you have whisked the shortening in very well, now you are ready to dip the strawberries. Take your pan, plate, whatever, out of the freezer. I hold the strawberries gently by the leaves and dunk them straight down in the chocolate. Then lay them gently on your pan/plate, etc.

If your bowl is kind of big, you might need to tilt it a little bit so that you get the strawberries straight down in the chocolate. Watch the steam coming up the sides if you do tilt you bowl. Steam will burn your skin easily so be careful.

Dip, place on pan/platter, dip place on pan/platter. It's really that simple and they are awesome!!!

As you can see from the pan above, they turn out pretty cool looking. Now I am the only one that eats these in my house so I don't go crazy making them all fancy. They look fine the way they are. However, if you really want them to look spiffy, melt some white chocolate the same way as you did the dark chocolate and use a spoon and drizzle the white chocolate over the dark. Or you can dip some in the white and some in the dark and alternate the drizzled colors. Whatever you want.

Now for the cost:

1 lb strawberries from Krogers ($1.50 on sale)

1 pkg of chocolate morsels ($.99 purchased previously with a coupon)

2 tablespoons shortening ($.05) for grins ( have no idea as I spent $1.49 for the can.

So for a whopping $2.54 you have a very pretty tasty treat! Try buying them for that at your local store or establishment. It's not going to happen! These are very nice for Valentines Day so you can plan ahead now!

Note: A lot of people use wax paper to sit their strawberries on but I was taught a long time ago that if you put your platter/pan/plate in the freezer, as soon you set the strawberry on it, the cold firms it like lightening. When I am done I put the whole pan in the refrigerator for about 10 minutes then I take a plastic spatular and gently pop them off the pan. Works every time!



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