The season of love is officially here and this year, I decided to attempt making the classic Valentine’s Day treat for the family for the first time.
Although quite popular around this time of year, I’d never tried making chocolate-covered strawberries before and I soon realized there was a lot to learn.
There are a few things to keep in mind while preparing to make these treats at home if you want it to be smooth sailing.
Take the extra time to make this project worth it because the time and patience put in for less frustration, in the end, is worth it!
1. Buy reliable piping bags
I originally tried to decorate my plain dipped strawberries with the corners of sandwich bags, but quickly learned how fragile the plastic is.
Unfortunately, once the chocolate starts to cool in the bag and becomes too thick to squeeze out the small hole cut at the corner, the pressure combines with the heat of the still-pliable chocolate will pop tiny holes in the sides of the bag!
It’s pretty messy and can be tedious to clean up, so stick to getting a set to keep at home for future sweet treats like this one!
2. Constantly stir the chocolate
Whether you’re using a crockpot, microwaving in increments, or using a double boil method for the morsels, keeping a consistent temperature is key to avoiding burning.
I used the double boil method the first time I tried making these and had good luck with it, though it wasn’t good at keeping the chocolate hot. Using a crockpot or microwaving the chocolate has much smoother results and can keep the chocolate hotter for longer.
Stirring is necessary to avoid burns but also helps with the initial melting process because it disperses the heat throughout the container rather than the center or edges.
3. Heat decorative chocolate last
It may seem like common sense, but it is easy to get into the mindset of prepping. The first time I warmed up my chocolates to mix in food coloring, I did all the colors at once before realizing I couldn’t reheat easily.
Melt the base chocolate and allow all of the plain strawberries to set and cool before mixing the decorative colors. If you enjoy the minimalist look of these plain white stripes, simply wait to heat your white chocolate until after the base layers are completely cooled.
4. Add toppings immediately
As soon as you have added your decorative chocolate, you’re going to warn to add all toppings immediately after dipping your strawberries.
Toppings like chopped nuts, coconut flakes, and sprinkles should have adhered to the chocolate while still hot by simply sprinkling some over them while they set. If you wait too long between dipping or striping and adding toppings, they will only leave an indentation on the chocolate and fall off.
If your first layer of chocolate was not too thick, you can dip again and quickly add the toppings then.
5. Use parchment paper
Parchment paper is best known for having a waxy side which makes a great non-stick surface for baking. Similarly, it provides a great surface for the chocolate to cool without sticking and allows for a clean peel once hardened.
Things to Avoid
There are a few minor mistakes that can lead to a lot of frustration if not prevented while making this seemingly simple snack. Here’s what to avoid while making the sweet treat
1. Washing the strawberries
While I usually am in full support of washing my fruits and veggies, chocolate-covered strawberries are an exception.
I luckily already knew to avoid doing this step as I already knew chocolate and water do NOT mix! Washing the berries will make it that much easier for the water to ruin the melted chocolate.
Keep this in mind while using a double boil method too! You don’t want to let your water and chocolate mix, or you might find yourself headed back out to the store.
2. Buying plain strawberries
I had no idea that there were strawberries with the stem left on! They are usually sold in large quantities but can be found in smaller batches for the at-home chef.
These strawberries make dipping and shaking off the excess chocolate after the berry is coated.
I managed to make some with plain strawberries by holding all of the leaves at once, close to the top of the strawberry, though the stems make the process much quicker.
3. Not reheating your chocolate
The chocolate will inevitably start to harden, and it will likely be quicker than expected.
For chocolate in a piping bag, I recommend reheating the chocolate before it gets cool enough to harden upon hitting the cool air. Simply squeeze out (with some force) to get all of the remaining chocolate into a heatproof container before it cools too much.
4. Using a wide dish
Since the majority of strawberry dipping is the dipping aspect, it’s important to keep a small, deep container for the melting.
Using a wide container will mean adding more chocolate, in the long run, to create a deep enough basin of chocolate to fit a whole strawberry in.
I like to use mason jars to hold the dipping chocolate since they tend to be a perfect size and easy to clean!
Looking for more sweet recipes like this one? Keep an eye out for upcoming spring recipes that are sure to bring the sweetness of this year’s fruit harvests to the table.