If you typically bake a cake or cookies to bring along as a house gift, how about a better-for-you alternative: chocolate dipped strawberries?
We were inspired by these festive Holiday Chocolate Dipped Strawberries from Harry and David ($39.95 + shipping) to make our own.
And all you need to do is melt chocolate and dip! Just as you need tasty fruit, quality counts with the chocolate. While strawberries with their leaves are particularly pretty, you can substitute any other fruits, including seedless orange slices and dried apricots.
Note that even if you prefer milk chocolate, dark chocolate provides a better flavor contrast with the berries. Dark chocolate lovers: For similar reasons, no matter how bittersweet you like your chocolate, keep the cacao content in the 50% to 70% cacao range.
Chocolate covered strawberries with a holiday embellishment. Photo courtesy Harry And David.
It’s best to make these on the same day as they will be consumed. If you don’t feel up to piping red and green decoration, serve them plain: Everyone will love them just as much.
RECIPE: CHOCOLATE COVERED STRAWBERRIES
1. PURCHASE strawberries on the day of preparation, if possible, so leaves will remain perky. Buy the largest berries you can find. If you can’t find berries with fresh leaves, default to orange segments or dried apricot slices.
2. CAREFULLY WASH the strawberries and pat them dry with a paper towel, leaving the stems intact.
3. CHOP the chocolate and melt in a double boiler, or in a small bowl placed over a saucepan of gently simmering water. Take care that the chocolate does not get too hot. Remove from the heat. You can also microwave the chocolate at 30-second intervals, stirring in-between.
4. DIP the berries into the chocolate, holding the stems very gently. Place onto sheets of baking parchment or waxed paper to cool and set.
5. KEEP the berries in a cool place (but not the fridge, or the chocolate may bloom) until ready to serve.
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