Wednesday, February 15, 2012
But what's a meal without dessert :)
Since it was Valentine's Day yesterday, I wanted to make a special dessert for Naris, so I busted out the old favorite, Chocolate Dipped Strawberries!! I use a few tricks to get stellar results each time, so read on for my secrets.
One dozen long stemmed Strawberries - 8.99
2 chocolate bars (71% Whole Foods Brand) - 5.28
Pot with about 1" of simmering H2O
Silpat - Silpat Non-Stick Baking Mat, 11.6 x 16.5-inches, Half Sheet Size
Trivet - Joseph Joseph Stretch, Expandable Silicone Trivet, Green
Once you have assembled your arsenal, it's time to get down to business. First, place a pot with about 1" of water on the stove and bring to a simmer. The break apart your chocolate bar into the metal bowl and place it on top of the simmering water pot (see image below, from wikipedia):
You might wonder, why does she bother with a chocolate bar versus chips. Well my dears, there's science behind it! Chocolate chips keep their pointy shape due to a reduction of cocoa butter solids in their formula, this means they look wonderful in chocolate chip cookies, but produce sub par melted chocolate. If you want silky smooth chocolate covered strawberries, stick with good quality chocolate bars and melt them over very low heat. Keeping the heat low will help keep your chocolate in temper, saving you the hassle of tempering yourself and giving your strawberries a nice snappy, shiny coating!
So, now that we have our nice melted, in temper chocolate, we're ready to dip! Since it's Valentine's Day, I sprung for the fancy (and pricey) long stemmed strawberries and just held their stems and twirled them in the bowl then set them down on my trusty Silpat. But, when I don't have those nice long stems, there are two ways I do this. Sometimes I just grab the tiny leaves on top and use them to control the strawberry, other times I drop in the berry and use a fork to move it around in the chocolate and fish it out (this works great with truffles too!).
Here are some shots of the final product, you can see my metal bowl resting on a trivet to save the table from heat, the chocolate bar I used and my Silpat with the delicious strawberries. If you aren't patient enough to wait for the chocolate to harden at room temperature (or if it's hot in your kitchen), just slide the Silpat on to a baking sheet and pop it in the freezer for 10 minutes, or the refrigerator for 30-60 minutes, depending on how cold your fridge is and how well tempered your chocolate is.
This recipe was a bit pricier than usual because of the long stemmed strawberries, coming out to $14.27, but Godiva charges $5 for small ones and $7 for larges, so we definitely came out ahead on this one. Also, I bought 2 bars of chocolate and had left over (which I sprinkled with the leftover peanuts and made in to a bark), you can usually get away with 1 bar but these looked skinny so I erred on the side of caution. No one wants to be disappointed on Valentine's Day!! Also, good quality chocolate can be obtained for pretty low cost at Trader Joe's, Whole Foods and even Target, so do yourself a favor and don't skimp on it, if you're going to eat chocolate, treat yourself to the good stuff!!
Jesse: Restaurant 1, Home cooking 1
Until we cook again,