Valentines always seems to be a bit of a romantic event and there’s nothing like a chocolate-dipped strawberry to satisfy the romance in a person. Elaine Sherman wrote “Chocolate is heavenly, mellow, sensual, deep, dark, sumptuous, gratifying, potent, dense, creamy, seductive, suggestive, rich, excessive, silky, smooth, luxurious, celestial. Chocolate is downfall, happiness, pleasure, love, ecstasy, fantasy … chocolate makes us wicked, guilty, sinful, healthy, chic, happy.” Even the scientific name for the tree from which chocolate is derived, Theobroma cacao, translated from Greek, means “food of the gods”. Well, I couldn’t have said it better—and so I won’t.
Additionally, have you noticed that the strawberries in our markets are plentiful and beautifully sweet? You could swear that each has been injected with a bit of sugar. So, for your sheer sinfulness, here is an easy and fun recipe to make, enjoy, and share.
2 pounds strawberries with leaves (rinsed and left to dry on a paper towel)
16 ounces chocolate chips (I use the semi-sweet chips)
2 tablespoons shortening or vegetable oil (which will cause chocolate to soften more at room temp)
1 package toothpicks
Insert toothpicks into the top of the strawberries.
In a double boiler, melt the chocolate and shortening, stirring until smooth. Dip the strawberries into the mixture and then let them cool on a cookie sheet lined with parchment or wax paper. Refrigerate until ready to serve (will take about 30 minutes to harden).
Note: if you want to get a bit fancy, melt ¼ cup of white chocolate chips and drizzle in circular patterns around the cooled dark chocolate berries.
(P.S. I love Ina Garten. For her chocolate dipped strawberries she uses ½ C. semisweet choc. chips and 3 Tbls. heavy cream melted in a double boiler, and then dips the strawberries, etc. This is a nice variation on the more traditional chocolate-dipped strawberry.)
Margot Van Horn