There are all sorts of occasions that call for chocolate-covered strawberries: Valentine's Day, weddings, baby showers, champagne brunches, Friday nights at home and Wednesday afternoons alone. Sweet, fresh fruit covered in a creamy blanket of rich chocolate, they're the finest of desserts.
Most chocolatiers will charge you an arm and a leg for such goodness, but we’ve uncovered some secrets for making gourmet chocolate-covered strawberries right in your kitchen. Just gather together a few simple supplies, set the timer for 20 minutes and you’re just three steps away from incredible, gorgeous chocolate-covered strawberries.
Step 1. Wash the strawberries.
See how easy this is? When the first step is to simply clean your fruit, you know you’re in for a fun ride! While it may seem obvious that your fresh fruit needs a washing, there’s a special way to go about the process:
- Strawberries shouldn’t be washed far in advance. Washing them just before you use them guarantees maximum freshness and minimal bruising.
- Run each strawberry under cold water. Don’t rub the berries. Just allow a light stream of water to dribble over each strawberry for about 10 seconds. (The exception to this is if you see obvious signs of dirt. In that case, carefully rub the dirt off with a soft basting brush or clean washcloth).
- Place the washed strawberries on a clean paper towel. Allow to air dry completely before dipping in melted chocolate.
Step 2. Melt the chocolate.
Again, this might sound like a simple task, but there are a few secrets to properly melting chocolate. While a double-broiler is the safest method, we’re going for the quickest option, which is melting the chocolate in a microwave.
When using a microwave, it’s easy to overcook chocolate, leaving you with a mottled mess or small, burned chunks. Yuck! No thanks! To ensure your chocolate-dipped strawberries turn out smooth and satiny, follow these easy tips:
- Use good-quality chocolate. It may not be true of everything, but when buying chocolate, you usually get what you pay for. If there’s ever been a time to splurge, it’s now. High-quality chocolate will turn your strawberries from ordinary to extraordinary.
- Use a microwave-safe glass bowl. Glass doesn’t hold heat as much as ceramic bowls do. Using a glass bowl will allow your chocolate to melt without overheating.
- Never microwave your chocolate for more than 30 seconds at a time. When following our recipes for gourmet strawberries, you’ll be melting chocolate chips for 30 seconds, then stirring them. Melting, then stirring. Melting, then stirring. Chocolate will melt before it really gets hot to the touch, so you want to warm it just enough to melt it, but not enough to cause the milk solids in the chocolate to separate.
Step 3. Dip the strawberries.
With clean strawberries and smooth, melted chocolate, you’re ready to start dipping! Before you begin, make sure you’ve set out a large piece of parchment paper. Parchment paper offers a completely non-stick surface, which allows the underside of your chocolate strawberries to cool with a smooth, flat surface.
To dip the strawberries, pull all the leafy greens carefully into your fingers, then submerge the red flesh of the strawberry into the chocolate. Gently swirl the strawberry around the pool of chocolate, making sure all sides are evenly coated.
Lift the strawberry from the chocolate and place it carefully on the parchment paper.
If you’re going gourmet, now’s the time to decorate your strawberries! Sprinkle on your favorite nonpareils, crushed candies or sparkling sugars.
Allow the strawberries to cool completely at room temperature. (Putting the strawberries in the fridge to speed up the cooling might cause the chocolate to develop spots due to the dramatic drop in temperature). Once the chocolate is hardened, eat and enjoy. Or wrap your strawberries in a pretty box, and surprise someone you love!