Nothing says romance quite like chocolate dipped strawberries.  Pair them with some champagne and you are set for a romantic night!  When I browse through the grocery stores during Valentine’s season, it is astounding to see the price that people will pay for these gems. Once you read this you will never again have to pay the ridiculous prices for less than fresh chocolate dipped strawberries.

First, you begin by purchasing the correct ingredients. You only need two things,  strawberries and coating chocolate. In my opinion, the best tasting strawberries are the medium to smaller sized ones, but the most visually dramatic are, of course, the larger ones. You can spend a lot of money on the long stem strawberries, but I would not recommend this route, as they are often completely white in the center and flavorless. Once you have selected your strawberries of choice, it is time to purchase the chocolate. The easiest chocolate to work with is the coating chocolate that is sold in the baking aisle of any grocery store. If you want to get a slightly nicer version, you can always visit a specialty store such as Gaucho Gourmet or Central Market. Just make sure you purchase coating chocolate because it does not require tempering or refrigeration to set.

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It’s actually very simple to make the chocolate dipped strawberries. I leave the strawberries in the refrigerator until I am ready to use them so that the warm chocolate sets quickly when it comes in contact with the cold fruit. To melt the chocolate, first you must finely chop the chocolate- the finer you chop the quicker it melts. Place the chocolate into a clean, dry metal bowl. On the stove have a pot filled ⅓ with water at a boil. You are going to create a double boiler, so make sure that the pot is the proper size that you can place the bowl on top of the pot and the bottom of the bowl will not touch the surface of the water. Once the water has come to a boil, remove from heat and place the bowl of chocolate on top. Stir occasionally until the chocolate is completely melted and smooth. You can also melt the chocolate in the microwave. Just make sure that you microwave in small increments of time so that you don’t burn the chocolate. The two enemies of chocolate are moisture and excessive heat. If the chocolate comes into contact with either of these two things it will become very thick or grainy and will have to be thrown out.

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To dip the strawberries- place a piece of parchment on the counter. Hold the strawberry by the green stem and dip into the chocolate. Rub the excess off on the side of the bowl and place on parchment to set. If you would like to decorate the strawberries with sprinkles or any kind of small candy- make sure you sprinkle on before the chocolate hardens. To stripe the chocolate in white chocolate, follow the melting instructions above using the white coating chocolate. Once melted, dip a spoon into the white chocolate and drizzle in thin lines over the strawberries.

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Chocolate strawberries are best eaten the day that they are dipped. They are also best if not refrigerated after the chocolate hardens.

As you can see, it doesn’t take much time to make this tasty treat.  Chocolate dipped strawberries also make a unique and wonderful gift for a friend, relative or as a teacher appreciation.