Ten years have passed since I accidentally melted a chocolate heart I bought for J for Valentine’s Day. It’s a hilarious story – I wrapped it all nicely and popped it on my dining room table on 13th February. I had my storage heater on, as it was still very cold in Southampton. After I switched the heater off, I went to get ready for bed and decided to have a quick tidy around. This tidy around involved putting the chocolate heart on the heater…
I only realized what I had done when I was sitting at the office at university the following morning… d’oh. I told J what I had done on msn messenger, and we had a laugh about it. He still wanted it, even though I was unsure that the heart was whole or a melted mass. When he opened it, yes, it was a melted mass – oops. Well, it is the thought that counts.
I now no longer buy chocolate hearts, as I can make my own. This year, J was treated to individually wrapped chocolate hearts with roasted hazelnuts, and chocolate coated fudge hearts. I also made my traditional chocolate dipped strawberries, but this time they were in the guise of chocolate tuxedo strawberries. You’d be surprised how much shops charge for chocolate tuxedo strawberries. I’ve seen them go for about $4.00 a piece! I purchased 454 g (1 lb) organic strawberries for $5.99 and organic chocolate for about $9.00 and made 24!
These strawberries are easy to make and are guaranteed to please. Fresh, ripe, organic strawberries are dipped in white and dark chocolate. Yes, I said white chocolate. White chocolate is usually forbidden in our house, but since it was a special occasion we decided to turn a blind eye.
The recipe involves tempering the chocolate, as I needed to justify the purchase of my chocolate thermometer it gives a glossy finish. If tempering chocolate is a little too daunting, feel free to simply melt the chocolate until smooth in a double boiler or microwave. The benefits of tempered chocolate is that it produces a wonderful crunch when bitten into, it adheres better to the strawberry and sets quicker.
CHOCOLATE DIPPED TUXEDO STRAWBERRIES
Makes 20 strawberries
- 20 ripe, medium sized strawberries, rinsed and patted dry*
- 100 g white chocolate**, chopped into small pieces
- 150 g dark chocolate**, chopped into small pieces
* It is of the utmost importance that the strawberries are very dry, otherwise the chocolate with not adhere to them.
** I used the minimum amount of chocolate necessary for coating 20 strawberries. Feel free to increase the amounts accordingly.
1. Prepare a baking tray (pan) with parchment paper or a silicone mat.
2. Pour about 2.5 cm (1 inch) boiling water into a small saucepan. Place on the lowest heat setting on your hob (stove).
3. Place ⅔ white chocolate in a small bowl, that will sit directly on top of the saucepan, making sure that the bottom does not touch the water.
4. Stir constantly until the chocolate melts. Continue to heat until the temperature reaches 41-43°C (105-110°F), remove the bowl from the double boiler and wipe the base of the bowl with a towel.
5. Stir the chocolate and add the remaining ⅓ white chocolate. Stir constantly until the temperature reaches 26°C (80°F).
6. Place the bowl back onto the saucepan and gently heat, stirring constantly until the temperature reaches 27-29°C (82-84°F). You will now need to keep the chocolate at this tempered temperature. This can be achieved by sitting the bowl on and off the saucepan and stirring during dipping.
7. Half dip one side of the strawberries in white chocolate and set chocolate side up on the prepared baking tray (pan). Continue until all the chocolates have been dipped in white chocolate. Let the chocolate set.
8. Repeat steps 3-6 using dark chocolate, but cooling to 29°C (84°F) and reheating to 31-33°C (88-92°F). Dip the strawberries at a slant on one side overlapping the white chocolate, and repeat on the other side, then dip the back of the strawberry. Place onto prepared baking tray (pan), white chocolate side up. Repeat until all of the strawberries are coated. Let the chocolate set.
9. Using a toothpick or wooden skewer, decorate the strawberries with a bow tie and buttons using the melted dark chocolate. Allow the chocolate to set before enjoying.