Make A Special Valentine
Is it really almost Valentine’s Day already? Which side of the fence are you on? Galentine’s Day, Anti-Valentine’s Day, Singles Awareness Day or your eyes are already filled with roses, chocolate hearts, stuffed animals, and little cherubs aiming their arrows at your beloved?
One of the easiest but often mysterious things to make for this chocolate-covered holiday are chocolate dipped strawberries, raspberries or any other fruit you desire. It’s really not hard to create your own decadent dipped berries! However, just like most things, there are a few key points to ensure your success. Are you already asking, “It’s just chocolate melted and dunk the strawberry in, right?” Let’s go with “yeah surrrrrreeeee!” Think of it this way — you don’t spend the money on a Maserati then go to Walmart to pick up floor mats or install an additional option, right? Okay, so keep reading.
Make it special —DIY chocolate covered strawberries (or any kind of berry!)
Be picky about your berries.
Pick the most beautiful berries you can find and afford. Remember, bigger is not always better AND the bigger they are, the more chocolate they will require to cover completely.
Splurge on high-quality chocolate.
Remember you will taste the chocolate first THEN the berry.
Give those berries a bath.
Berries hold a lot of dirt. Cover the berries with cold water and ice cubes to perk them up and add a couple of splashes of white vinegar. This will clean them and kill any bacteria on them. Pay attention to the dirt in the bottom of vinegar water when you remove the berries. Rinse the berries to remove any residual dirt or traces of vinegar.
No wet berries.
Place the berries on a drying mat to wick away the moisture. You can give them a pat as well with a clean towel or paper towel. The goal is to make sure the berries are completely dry before using them.
If you are dipping a lot of berries it’s worth the time to insert a toothpick or small bamboo skewer into the center thru the green leaves of the berry. A skewer is a lot easier to hold onto than the calyx (the green part) when you begin dipping.
Place the sheet pan in the freezer or refrigerator to chill it. This will make the berries set faster once they are dipped.
Line the chilled sheet pan with parchment paper or silicone mat.
About the chocolate.
You will need to make a decision. Melting wafers, candy melts or candy coating all contain paraffin or a shortening type additive that will allow the chocolate to set properly on the dipped berry.
You can NOT just melt your favorite chocolate chip and plunge the berry into it. I’ve seen recipe that suggest that and that still confuses me. Typically, the coating will be too thick, hard and unappealing to the eye.
Just a few berries
1/2 c. semisweet chocolate chips
1 teaspoon shortening or vegetable oil (not butter or margarine)
2 c. semisweet chocolate chips
2 Tablespoons coconut oil
Melt the chocolate at 50% power in the microwave with the shortening or coconut oil.Stir well to combine.It should be fluid enough to dip the berry into without creating an extremely thick coating.Reheat as needed.
Let the dipping begin.
Plunge the berries into the melted chocolate and oil. Gently shake off the excess chocolate over the melted chocolate. Transfer the dipped berries to the prepared sheet pan. Depending on the temperature of your chocolate and your kitchen, the chocolate on the berries may set very quickly. Once all the berries are dipped, place the entire sheet pan in the refrigerator until the chocolate is set/dried. The berries will easily peel off the parchment or silicone mat when they are properly set.
View the Video!
Happy Valentine’s Day!
Recipe prep, video and photos courtesy Ellen Stafford
Video Music by ZakharValaha from Pixabay.
In 2017, Maria established Beyond Decadence as Lake Norman’s first and only pop-up bakery specializing in American, gluten-free, and French desserts. As Pastry Chef and Owner of Beyond Decadence, Maria Kemp wears many hats on any given day.
In her words, “At the end of the day, awards, accolades, recognition, being a French Pastry School alumni simply don’t matter if I don’t consistently produce a remarkable product or craft a memorable private virtual baking experience. My goal is to exceed my clients’ expectations on every level and/or tantalize their taste buds. I thrive on and gain inspiration from building relationships with my clients and finding ways to share my knowledge to demystify the art of baking. I don’t deviate with every latest fad; I stay focused in areas where my skills can truly shine. I am deeply humbled and proud to have earned the privilege of becoming a thought-leader/speaker in the entrepreneurial community and private baking instructor for several corporations.”
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