The Art of Chocolate-Dipped Strawberries
A confectioner’s standard: dark, savory chocolate over a lightly chilled and refreshing berry. A treat that satisfies all from picky children to veteran connoisseurs. You might ask why bother writing this article, other than to remind the good people of the internet that chocolate-dipped strawberries still exist, are still delicious, and still very doable in your home kitchen.
Well, let me tell you- there is an art to chocolate-dipping.
First things first- you want to pick a chocolate you love. Surprisingly, I do not notice a big change in flavor from eating the chocolate as chips to the finish product which adheres to your strawberries. So, I’d recommend against using a bland baker’s chocolate. Go big on flavor! You’ll only need 5 ounces, so a fancy candy bar would do. Personally, I use Ghirardelli 60% Cocoa Chips. Chips melt easily, although you could chop a bar if you were absolutely in love with the flavor. In my experience, Ghirardelli hits the sweet spot (hah!) between confectionery lightness and coffee-like darkness.
For your melting setup, you will want a double boiler. A purpose-built double boiler is best (because it’s hardest to spill), but in a pinch you can jerry rig one from pans in your cupboard. Here’s an example of how: http://bakingbites.com/2009/09/how-to-make-a-double-boiler/
In your double boiler, you’ll be melting down chocolate and a small amount of oil. Why oil, you ask? It thins the chocolate and makes for a more delicate coating. You don’t want big chunks of chocolate on your berries- see, I said there was an art to this. 🙂
For the oil, I recommend something flavorless. I use coconut oil and would stay away from olive oil. You only need a very small amount- 1 teaspoon for each 5 ounces of chocolate. A couple of pro tips- don’t milk to cut the chocolate!!! You want no moisture to touch the chocolate. You can use dairy, like butter or heavy cream, but only with special preparation. Some complementary flavors in vegetable oil might add to your treat- peanut oil, say. So! With your chocolate melting and properly thinned, its time to talk berries.
Wash and very thoroughly dry your berries. You probably read right over that or thought it was optional. Serious! Wash and then individually and painstakingly dry your strawberries. Again, moisture in the chocolate will mess you up- clumpy, gritty chocolate comes from water in the chocolate. No one invented chocolate-flavored chalk because no one wants to eat it!
For the actual dipping, here is my technique: take your berry by the green leaves, careful to hold onto all of them so they don’t get dipped, too. Drag the berry through the deepest part of your chocolate- repeat this until all but the greens have been dipped. Place on wax paper (optional, but easy to clean) in a container. Do not seal the container until the berries have cooled a bit, otherwise you will have condensation in the berry container, and no one likes soggy chocolate. After about 10 minutes of cooling, your berries are ready for the fridge, where they will keep for as long as fresh strawberries. But who am I kidding? These treats may not last the night 😀
And there you have it! The intracies of the chocolate-dip. I suppose I should give you good folks a formal recipe, just for keeping in your kitchen index-card box.
5 ounces of chocolate chips (I split a 10 ounce bag of Ghirardelli 60%)
1 pound of well-dried strawberries (mine rendered about 12 berries- I say about because I ate some while cooking 🙂 )
1 teaspoon coconut oil (or substitute)
Optional toppings- chopped walnuts, peanuts, almonds, drizzled white chocolate or drizzled dipping caramel.
So go out there and have fun! Make for yourself, make as a gift, sky is the limit!