Chocoholic: Chocolate Covered Strawberries
Big, bodacious, passion red strawberries are the most sensuous of any chocolate dipped fruit. The mere sight of them will elicit a rapturous squeal from any girl. Why? Because chocolate brings the XXX factor to any fruit it touches, transforming it from a totally sexless goody-two-shoes health food to something indulgent and sinful.
I mean, you wouldn't dangle a sliver of cantaloupe over your lover's waiting mouth in anticipation of some hot romancing, but if you dipped it in chocolate, well, you are on your way to sealing the deal (or at least not be laughed at while you're standing there in your underwear).
But strawberries are the ultimate fruit for coating in chocolate for a number of reasons. The dry exterior gives the chocolate something to hold onto (slices of wet fruit are a major challenge for chocolate dipping). They're also the perfect pop-in-your-mouth size. Or, if you prefer, grasp on to the green stem and nibble through the hardened candy chocolate shell into the luscious gush of juicy sweet-tart berry inside. Aphrodisiac? Definitely.
Come Valentine's Day, you can easily purchase these indulgent delights in shops or online, and you'll just as easily pay a premium price. But why should you? Fist-sized chocolate strawberries may entice with their hugeness, but the fruit is most likely watery and flavorless. Worse is then biting into a waxy chocolate couverture coating (not hot).
Spectacular looking and tasting chocolate dipped strawberries take hardly any effort, so there's no reason not to whip them up yourself. There's no finicky chocolate tempering needed here. Just melt some chocolate, dip the berries, and chill until set. That's it. While long stemmed strawberries always add the wow factor, in the end it's really all about the taste. Simply pick the best chocolate and the sweetest, ripest strawberries that you can find, and you'll hit a home run.
If you've got a ton of spare time and you're feeling crafty, you could paint kitschy white chocolate tuxedos on the berries just like I did in my pastry school and catering hall days. But I recommend keeping it simple with a quick drizzle of melted white chocolate. The loose, messy look is a lot sexier anyway.
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About the Author: Yvonne Ruperti is a food writer, recipe developer, former bakery owner, and author of The Complete Idiot's Guide To Easy Artisan Bread. You can also watch her culinary stylings on the America's Test Kitchen television show. She presently lives in Singapore and is currently at work constructing her new blog, "ShopHouseCook".
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