Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Valentine's Day - Chocolate Covered Strawberries




Keeping with our Valentine's Day Challenge......

I admit Valentine's Day wouldn't be the same without chocolate.   It's not as difficult to make great chocolate goodies for the event as you would think.  I'm not talking your basic brownies either.  How about some home made chocolate covered strawberries?  Easy and ooooohhhhh so good!  Have a package of semi-sweet chocolate chips left over from the holidays that you didn't use?  Have some shortening?  Have strawberries?  Then you have everything you need.

Chocolate Covered Strawberries

Ingredients: 

2 cups of semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 Tablespoons Shortening (don't use butter flavored - just the plain stuff!)
1 Container of Strawberries

First check over the strawberries to make certain you don't have any old or soft ones.  Clean them gently and set them aside.

There are a couple of ways to melt the chocolate:

1.  Double Boiler - If you have one of these, then hopefully you know how to use it.  If you have it but haven't used it before, now is your chance.  Fill the bottom pot to the fill line and stick the top pot into it.  Turn your burner to about medium high to get your water boiling.  I put the shortening in the pan first and let it melt and then I put the chocolate chips in.  Now here's the thing, once the water starts to boil in the bottom pan, turn the burner off.   I use a wire whisk to gently stir the chocolate and shortening together until everything is completely melted and completely mixed.

2.  If you don't have a double boiler, then you can still accomplish the same principal using a pan and a glass bowl that is large enough to sit on top of the pan.  It is very important here to pay attention to the water boiling this way because you don't want the water splattering into the bowl in any way.  A lot of people will tilt the bowl a little to make it easier to stir the chocolate and shortening.  Be careful here because this also makes it easier for the water to splatter up inside the bowl which will affect the chocolate/shortening mixture.

3.  You could also melt the shortening and chocolate in a microwave safe bowl but I like this method the least.  If you have no other alternatives, then melt the chocolate first on high stopping every minute to stir.  Once the chocolate is about half way melted, then add the shortening.  Be sure to stir very well if you use this method.  There is nothing worse then burnt chocolate and you can definitely do it with a microwave.  And NOOOO I didn't do it but I know someone who did and boy did their house smell for a while.

No matter which method you use, be certain to mix the chocolate and shortening completely.  As I said above, I prefer to use a whisk but you could use a wooden spoon just as easily.

Now for the dipping:

There are also a couple of ways to do this.

1.  You could use your fingers to dip the strawberries.  This is best done with the bowl method so you don't burn yourself but I don't prefer this method.

2.  I use a toothpick.  I insert it at a slight angle from top down into the strawberry.  You don't want your strawberry sliding off and splattering into the chocolate; then you the chocolate would splatter; then you would get burned from melted chocolate; then you would be mad at me!  The list could go on and on.  

3.  You can also use a thin skewer to poke into the top of the strawberry.

Which ever method you use here, dip the strawberry about 3/4 way into the chocolate and lay on a cookie sheet that has been lined with wax paper.  Don't have any way paper?  Not a problem.  Simple put your cookie sheet into the freezer for about 10 minutes to get it nice and cold and lay the strawberries on it.

Let the strawberries cool for about 20 minutes and then place the cookie sheet into the refrigerator to harden or set the chocolate.

Now if you are really artsie fartsie, then after you have dipped the strawberries and put them on the tray to cool, melt some white chocolate using the same method as above.  Take a spoon and drizzle it zig-zag across the strawberries on the cookie sheet.

Once the chocolate has set, gently remove them from the waxed paper or tray and lay them on a nice plate or piece of china to add to the mood.  If you happen to have a paper Doilie then put it on the plate and the strawberries on top of it.

Voila!  You now have Chocolate Covered Strawberries that you made yourself!  These are incredible and oh so romantic!

Enjoy!


 

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