Valentine’s Day is right around the corner. Are you ready? I’m not, but I’m forming a plan. One of my favorite Valentine treats is chocolate covered strawberries. They are readily available for purchase this time of year, but they aren’t cheap. The ones I’ve priced have been $30.00 per dozen and up. I found half a dozen for $19.99. Unfortunately, not everyone can afford the strawberry treasures sold in the pretty boxes. Then there are those frugal people, such as myself, who just can’t bring themselves to pay so much for a few bites.
Good news! It’s really easy to make chocolate covered strawberries yourself for a fraction of the cost of buying them. Prices vary according to where you live, but I can buy the berries and chocolate here for between $5.00 and $10.00. If you happen to have some chocolate left over from making Christmas candy, you will only be out the cost of the strawberries.
Homemade chocolate covered strawberries may not look as pretty as the ones that come from the specialty shops or grocery store, but they will still be delicious and make a great gift. I often make them for my mom as her Valentine present. All you need is nice fresh strawberries, dipping chocolate (or almond bark), a bowl or sauce pan, a microwave or stove, and some parchment/wax paper.
The chocolate may be melted in a double boiler on the stove. The heat is easier to control on the stove than in the microwave. However, I’m a busy woman, so I use a bowl and my microwave. It’s faster, but I must pay close attention to the heat because if the chocolate gets too hot it won’t stay on the berry. The hotter the chocolate, the thinner and runnier it becomes. I use the defrost setting on my microwave and run it for one minute initially and then in 30 second bursts stirring in between until the chocolate is smooth.
Dipping chocolate comes in many forms – chips, disks, bars, and squares. You can even buy it in a tub that you pop in the microwave for a few seconds, stir, and it’s ready to go. Almond Bark may also be used if you prefer. It’s usually more economical than real chocolate and readily available in most grocery stores.
- Select strawberries that ripe, but not mushy. Leave the stems on them.
- Wash strawberries in cold water, pat dry with a paper towel, and set aside.
- Melt the chocolate, stirring often until smooth.
- Grasp the strawberries by the stems and carefully dip one at a time in the melted chocolate. Swirl the berry around in the chocolate until most of it is covered, but leave a bit of exposed berry at the top with the stem.
- Let the excess chocolate drip back into the bowl.
- Place chocolate dipped strawberries on a sheet of parchment or wax paper and allow to harden. It usually takes just a few minutes.
If you want to make them look really pretty, you can drizzle melted white chocolate or another color of melted candy over the dipped berries after the chocolate coating is set up. I usually use candy melts for color, which are available in many grocery and craft stores and come in a wide variety of colors. You can also buy them online. I personally like to use pink.
It’s best to eat or give the berries the same day you make them, but they will keep in the refrigerator for a few days.
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