Food

a Valentine’s Day Prep/Activity post

I started noticing Valentine’s Day stuff during my after-Christmas sale shopping. While the retailers’ holiday stuff buff up their pretty packaging, nothing compares to a self-made gift from the heart. So I thought I would share with my readers a Food Network-inspired recipe for chocolate covered strawberries that will be sure to make your Valentine’s sweetie (and/or your taste-buds) melt. Also makes for a great Valentine’s day activity as your fingers will get messy with melted chocolate for you to lick off.

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This can be made a day ahead of time, but no more than several days ahead. Yields 1 lb (or 1 large plateful) of strawberries.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb fresh strawberries with stems
  • 6 oz Nestlé dark chocolate morsels (you can use semi-sweet, but the sweetness of the strawberry is more than enough for me)
  • 3 oz white chocolate morsels
  • Vegetable oil
  • Almonds or other nuts that are preferably pre-sweetened (optional)
  • Tap water

Equipment:

  • 1 medium sized pot
  • a heat-proof medium sized glass bowl per type of chocolate (so you need 2 bowls here if you plan to use both semi-sweet and white)
  • Spatula
  • Paper towels
  • Tray pan
  • Aluminum foil/parchment paper/wax paper
  • Scale (optional)
  • zip-lock bag and scissor

Instructions (heavily modified from the Food Network’s site):

  1. Make sure you have enough space in the fridge to fit a pan for 30+ mins.

    a353a685caeb14621a9eb6583b95c6e5
    Step 2. Dry the cleaned stem-on strawberries.
  2. Gently rinse the strawberries under water and lay them out to dry on paper towels. Make sure they are completely dried before starting step 5 as remaining water droplets can freeze and ruin the chocolate covered look.
  3. (Optional) If you plan to use nuts, chop them into bits for later use.
  4. Determine how many of the strawberries you want covered in just chocolate or white chocolate or nuts, and jot that down on a note.
  5. 5c20379b18507eff538e35fc4addf07a
    Steps 3 & 5. Chopped almond and white chocolate morsels. Ignore the mint chocolate morsels.

    Use a scale to measure the weight of the chocolate chips that you will need. (I can just eyeball how much I need since I know that most chocolate chips come in 10 oz packages.) Place them into the glass bowl.

  6. Line a sheet pan with parchment/waxed paper/aluminum foil. Bring this pan to the counter by the pot.
  7. Fill 1 medium sized pot with a couple inches of water and bring to a simmer over medium heat. (You should see a steady stream of steam coming up from the pot.)

    972e7398ac9684fb0b065381a94879a9
    Step 8. Melt the chocolate morsels over a steamy pot of water.
  8. Turn off the heat and place 1 bowl with the semi-sweet chocolate over the pot. Let the steam melt the chocolate and add a small tad amount of vegetable oil to give a shiny look. Stir until smooth with a spatula. (Alternatively, melt the chocolate in a microwave at half power, for 1 min, stir and then heat for another minute or until melted.)
  9. Once the chocolates are melted and smooth, remove from the heat.

    00192bcc542bcf4db76c0773db8c7674
    Step 9. Stir until smooth.
  10. Holding the strawberry by the stem, quickly dip it into the melted chocolate at a 45° angle and twisting it to get all the surfaces covered with chocolate. Lift it and twist again to let any excess chocolate fall back into the bowl. Set it on the lined pan. (This step must be done quickly since as the melted chocolate cools down, it becomes more difficult to apply a smooth chocolate covered surface on the fruit.)

    47011dd14b0d8087380488cd5462ae9d
    Step 10. Chocolate coating the strawberries.
  11. Immediately add the crushed nuts onto the chocolate covered ones as you want them to stick.
  12. Repeat for the remaining strawberries. Let the chocolate firm up on the fruit.
  13. Place the white chocolate chips in a plastic bag and melt it in the microwave. Use short heating intervals to keep a careful eye on the white chocolate to avoid overheating!
  14. Snip one corner of the plastic bag and drizzle it on the chocolate covered strawberries that have not been covered with nuts.
  15. Set aside in the fridge or freezer for 30+ mins.
  16. Remove from fridge and serve them from a pretty plate.

 

Tip #1: Buy the strawberries either the day of or the day before making this recipe to have the strawberries as firm as possible.

Tip #2: It is imperative to keep a watchful eye as you melt the chocolate as they can easily overheat and burn.

Tip #3: If you notice that it has become more difficult to apply a smooth chocolate covered surface on the fruit in Step 9, turn on the heat again to get the steady stream of steam to melt the chocolate slightly again before continuing.

Tip #4: If you have any excess chocolate remaining in the bowl, scrape them into a shallow storage container and let them firm up again in the fridge to indulge later.

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Tip #4. Store any excess melted chocolate into a shallow container and let them firm up in the fridge to eat later.

 

Note: This recipe is heavily modified from the Food Network’s site. I have added more instructions and tips from their comments as there are more details involved. It’s not all that easy to create this but the taste is yummy and fun guaranteed.

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