The Microwave: Chocolate-Covered Fresh Strawberries

Friday May 27, 2016

Who in the world invented chocolate covered fresh strawberries? I certainly never would have thought of such a combo, but here it is and it is one of the premier ways to use those beautiful over sized strawberries to their best advantage. One day they just appeared and every catering job I did after that wanted to have the dipped fresh berries for dessert. Dipped strawberries are really expensive, a few dollars a piece, if you buy them.

Once you find out how easy it is to make chocolate dipped fresh strawberries, you will have a fabulous light dessert to impress at your fingertips so to speak. Friends dropping by in a few hours on a summer night? You can have strawberries dipped and chilling in the fridge within half an hour total. Here again is economical culinary elegance courtesy of our microwave. The almond extract will accent the berry flavor.

Okay, the stats and critical technique. Consider there are about 15 to 20 medium strawberries per pint; 10 to 12 large per pint. When you cool the strawberries, try to balance them on their hull side so there is no flat sections; if not, laying on their side is fine.

Can be served individually, or as garnish on glazed cakes, pop one on top a custard or pudding, on a plate with truffles, or on their own with a glass of dessert wine or coffee and cookies.

you can use the strawberries for decoration, like on this celebration cake

Overview

Cookware: 8-inch Pyrex pie plate and 10-by-14-inch large baking sheet

Microwave Wattage: 1,100 to 1,300

Total Cook Time: 1 to1 1/2 minutes

Standing Time: At least 15 minutes chilling

Makes 2 dozen dipped strawberries

Ingredients

  • 24 large strawberries, rinsed and patted dry
  • 8-ounces bittersweet chocolate, broken into pieces (such as Nestle 62% or Ghirardelli 60% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate Baking Bar) or Bittersweet Chocolate Chips
  • 2 tablespoons butter or vegetable shortening
  • Dash of almond extract

Instructions

1. Wash and dry the strawberries: Fill a small bowl with water, hold the strawberry by the stem/leaves and immerse only the red part of the berry in the water. (If you immerse the leaves in water, as they dry they may curl and get a dried-out look that isn’t as pretty.) After dunking each strawberry, place it on a double layer of paper towel to dry completely. Or, blot off the water if you don’t have time to let them air dry. It’s important that they’re totally dry when you dunk them in melted chocolate.Long stemmed strawberries are dramatic for this recipe, but if you can’t find those, find ones with large and intact green tops.

2. Line a large baking sheet with wax paper or parchment. Your strawberries will need to cool on this and then be transferred into the fridge.

3. On an 8-inch pie plate, place the chocolate pieces in a circle, then adding the butter or shortening in the center. Place a few drops of the almond extract on the butter. Microcook, uncovered, on HIGH for 15 to 20 seconds, then stir. Microcook for another 20 seconds; stir. Stop heating when most, but not all, of the chips are melted–there should be a few chunks left. Stir until it is smooth and chips are completely melted. Continue to microcook at 20 second intervals, until chocolate is all melted and smooth, stirring frequently. Be careful not to overcook.

4. Holding the stem end using the strawberry hull as a handle, dip the tip of the strawberry into chocolate, twirling in the chocolate to cover two-thirds of each berry. Allow any excess chocolate to drip back onto the pie plate. Then place berries, hull side down or on its side, on the lined cookie sheet. Refrigerate for at least 15 to 30 minutes, until the chocolate is set, before serving. Store in the refrigerator in an airtight plastic container, not touching, for up to 24 hours.

Storage: Keep these in a cool place or the fridge (uncovered or loosely covered) for up to 8 hours before serving. If stored longer, juice from the berries begins to slowly leak out of the bottom and pools at the base of each berry. They still taste good the next day, but the texture gradually gets mushier.

Serving: Arrange the finished berries on a platter, as pictured below. Or, place berries in individual paper cupcake liners before arranging them on the platter–this makes them easy to grab and eat.

Variations

White Chocolate-Covered Strawberries: Substitute white chocolate chips for the dark chocolate. White chocolate melts faster than dark chocolate.

Chocolate-Covered Fresh Cherries: Substitute unblemished whole dark sweet cherries with stems attached for the strawberries.

Chocolate-Covered Fresh Orange Segments: Substitute 2 navel oranges (or 4 to 5 seedless Clementine “Cuties”) for the strawberries. Peel the oranges and pat dry with paper towel. Dip half of each segment. These are really good.

Dipped Strawberries with Chocolate Drizzle: First, strawberries are dipped in a coat of semisweet chocolate, then, drizzled with white chocolate, which makes a contrasting layer. To drizzle, place 1/2 cup white chocolate chips plus 1 teaspoon butter or vegetable shortening in a quart freezer plastic food storage bag, melt in the microwave at 50% power checking at 20 second intervals until soft; squeeze the bag until the chips are melted and smooth. Then snip off one of the corner tips to make an opening for the melted chocolate. Hold and squeeze gently while drizzling over the dried dipped strawberry.

Recipe and text copyright Beth Hensperger 2016.

Please enjoy the recipe and make it your own. If you copy the recipe and text for internet use, please include my byline and link to my site.

dip and drizzle


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