The Biggest Mistake You Make With Chocolate Covered Strawberries
It's not hard to imagine a lovestruck beginner in the kitchen looking to impress their significant other on Valentine's Day with a culinary treat. They hit on the perfect idea: homemade chocolate-covered strawberries.
It's just two ingredients, strawberries and chocolate, and it's only one step: Dip ingredient one into ingredient two. What could go wrong?
A lot, actually.
Valentine's Day can be a high-stakes holiday when a couple's feelings for each other are just starting to flower. If chocolate-dipped strawberries are your big February 14 play, it's best not to go into the project overly confident. The union of strawberries and chocolate is not always a happy marriage. So, we're here to help: We've pulled together some tips for you, so you can make chocolate-covered strawberries that will win your beloved's heart.
The first piece of advice is to practice making your chocolate-dipped strawberries ahead of time. If you're not up to the task, you can always have flowers delivered.
Since you're only dealing with two ingredients, the quality of each is of top importance. Make sure both are good enough for the job. Only the tops of your strawberries will show above the chocolate, so try to find berries that are red near the stem and not whitish-green, Tastes Better from Scratch advises.
Your Cup of Cake recommends relatively small strawberries because they are more flavorful. Oregon strawberries fit the bill, but they won't be in season before Valentine's Day. You can also find good strawberries during the winter at Costco. Look for ones with leafy stems that you can hold while dipping.
Whether you get white, milk or dark chocolate is a matter of taste, so choose whatever you like. If you're undecided, you may want to take the advice of The Piquey Eater, which recommends dark chocolate with 70 percent cacao for its crunch and for the contrast between the bitterness of the dark chocolate and the sweetness of the berries. And make sure you're using baking chocolate. It will give you the right consistency, according to Tastes Better from Scratch.
With the right ingredients in hand, it's down to technique. To melt the chocolate, use a double boiler or the microwave. The key to melting chocolate is to go slow and steady, with plenty of stirring. If you use a microwave, Tastes Better from Scratch says to set it to 50 percent power, and stop every 30 seconds to stir. Chocolate is very heat sensitive. If it gets too hot, it will curdle, and you won't be able to use it, The Stay at Home Chef warns.
Next, you want to make sure the chocolate sets on the strawberry just right. Your chocolate might look streaky or dull if you don't temper it first, according to Tastes Better from Scratch. Tempering can be tricky, but it really sounds more complicated than it is. After your chocolate is melted, just add a heaping tablespoon of unmelted chocolate and stir it in. This will ensure your chocolate isn't too hot and has the right consistency. If you want the chocolate coating on your strawberries to shine, The Piquey Eater suggests adding a little butter.
As for the strawberries, diligent but practical romantics will definitely want to wash the strawberries before dipping them in the chocolate for food safety purposes. Water and chocolate don't mix, though, so it's very important to dry them thoroughly before dipping. The experts at The Stay at Home Chef emphasize patting each strawberry individually with a paper towel, making sure not to forget the leaves. Water can drip off wet leaves and ruin your chocolate. The chocolate might fall off wet strawberries. At the very least, Cafe Mom warns, the chocolate will lose its smooth texture and appear a lot less appetizing.
You want your chocolate to adhere permanently to your strawberries, just as you want your partner to hold close to you forever. Something like that. You can write your own love poems.
Unlike your undying love, chocolate-covered strawberries have a shelf life of one day, if you refrigerate them. So it's best to make your Valentine's surprise the day before or the day of your romantic encounter. And please, keep it classy.
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