Valentine’s Day Chocolate Dipped Strawberries
When I think of a romantic dessert to round out our perfect Valentine’s Day meal, my mind goes in two different directions. First, there is “red fruit:” raspberries and strawberries. Strawberries are an especially romantic fruit because, when you slice them, they kind of look like little hearts. Also, they go very well with champagne.
Of course, there’s always chocolate. Studies have shown that eating a bit of chocolate actually releases endorphins, those feel-good chemicals in the brain. What better way to end up your Valentine’s Day dinner than with both of you feeling good, right?
Also, I know you’ve been busy preparing all the courses for this dinner. So, dessert will be a simple affair: minimal preparation with maximum impact. We’re going to combine strawberries and chocolate. You just can’t go wrong with this combination.
Crocks of dark chocolate fondue are available in specialty stores and on the Internet. All you have to do is heat them up and then dip strawberries or cubes of pound cake for a no-fuss, luscious and romantic dessert. Here’s a good brand you can find at Amazon.com called Fondue au Chocolate. Just heat it up in a microwave or in a double boiler and you are ready to go. OF course, if you would like to make your own, read on.
Chocolate Dipped Strawberries
For the Chocolate Fondue
2 oz. butter
4 oz. sugar
1 cup heavy cream
½ cup corn syrup
¼ cup whole milk
½ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoon cocoa powder
1 tablespoon water
1 tablespoon rum
½ teaspoon vanilla
4 oz. best quality semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chips
For Chocolate Dipped Strawberries
1 - 12 oz. bag of semisweet chocolate chips
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
Fresh whole strawberries (get the nicest, reddest ones you can find. For those of you in the south this will be pretty easy. Florida grows very nice winter strawberries).
How To Prepare At Home
For the Chocolate Fondue
Whisk together cocoa powder, water and rum into a paste. Place in a bowl with the chopped chocolate and the vanilla.
In a heavy bottomed saucepan, combine the butter, sugar, cream, corn syrup milk and salt. Bring to a boil and keep at a slow boil until the mixture is a light caramel color, about 15 minutes.
Strain the cream mixture into the chocolate mixture and whisk well until smooth. Pour into fondue pot to keep warm. Serve with cubed pound cake, marshmallows, fruit, or frozen cubes of cheesecake.
Variations: Add ½ teaspoon (or to taste) of orange extract or peppermint extract. Boil a cinnamon stick in with the dairy mixture.
For the Chocolate Dipped Strawberries
Cover a baking sheet with a sheet of parchment paper or wax paper.
In a large metal bowl set over a pan of simmering, not boiling, water, melt the chocolate chips. Stir frequently, and make sure that the water in the pan does not touch the bottom of the bowl.
Thoroughly stir in the vegetable oil. Stir well, but try not to make any bubbles in the chocolate. You want it to be as smooth as possible so your dipped strawberries look perfect.
Cool the chocolate to room temperature, stirring frequently. Right before you are ready to dip the strawberries, rinse them off in cold water and dry them gently but thoroughly. Make sure the berries are dry before dipping.
Holding a strawberry by its green top and dip the strawberry in the chocolate so only a little of the red is showing. Swirl the strawberry in the chocolate to make sure it is well coated. You might have to use a spoon to drizzle the chocolate over the berries when you start to run low on chocolate.
Lift the berry up and let some of the excess chocolate drip back into the bowl. Set the dipped strawberry on its side on the paper-lined cookie sheet. Continue dipping until you either run out of strawberries or chocolate. This recipe will probably make about 30 dipped strawberries, depending on the size, so you will have plenty.
Once all the berries are dipped, put the tray in the refrigerator until you are ready for dessert.
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