The Perfect Valentine Treat: Double Chocolate-Dipped Strawberries
By Patti Cook, BA, MS, Ed.D., Culinary Grad and B & P Student
In the past couple weeks, people who know that I’m a health-conscious chef and recently started in the baking and pastry program have been asking me for healthy Valentine treat ideas. Last week, I shared my love of meringues. My other top suggestion is chocolate-dipped strawberries. They pack a double aphrodisiac love story in one juicy sweet bite. They also match dessert trends: we want our sweets, but want them healthier too.
Strawberries’ heart shape, red color and sweetness make them the perfect symbol of love. Legend says that if you break a double strawberry in half and share it, you will fall in love. Strawberries were even so sacred that they were used to symbolize Venus, the goddess of love. And dipping the symbol of love into chocolate makes it all so much sweeter. Chocolate also has a long history of encouraging romance and enhancing health.
From my kitchen seat, celebrating Valentine’s Day and juicy love stories are good things. Eating healthier doesn’t mean you go without sweets on Valentine’s Day or any day. It does mean finding ways to increase good-for-you ingredients like strawberries that are low in fat and calories as well as high in fiber, antioxidants and vitamin C. And, most important—especially on Valentine’s Day—making it for someone you love.
Tips to make perfect chocolate-dipped strawberries:
- The most important thing is to use quality chocolate chips. In my experience, Ghirardelli is definitely the best and they’re relatively easy to find in the baking aisle with other chocolate chips in large well-stocked grocery stores and natural-foods markets.
- Melting the chocolate in batches assures it won’t cool off too much (because then it is difficult to dip the berries).
- The best type of bowl to melt the chocolate in is a medium glass ramekin because it’s easy to dip the strawberries into. It’s impossible to dip the strawberries in a bowl with a wide bottom because the chocolate spreads out.
- Letting excess chocolate drip off and scraping the bottom gives you nicer-looking coated berries.
- Line a large baking sheet, cutting board or platter with parchment or wax paper. You need enough space to lay out all the chocolate-coated berries.
- Put ½ cup chocolate chips in a small microwave-safe bowl.
- Microwave on medium for 1 minute. Stir chips around with a fork. Continue to microwave the chocolate in 30-second intervals, stirring each time, until almost completely melted. Then stir until smooth.
- Dip half of each strawberry into the chocolate—let excess drip off back into the bowl and then scrape the berry against the edge of the bowl to remove excess chocolate from the bottom. Place on parchment paper.
- When almost all the chocolate is gone, if you have more strawberries you want to dip… add another ½ cup chocolate chips to the bowl and repeat the process. Continue making batches with ½ cup melted chocolate until all your strawberries are coated.
- Let the strawberries sit at room temperature until the chocolate is completely set. They can sit at room temperature until you’re ready to serve them or store, covered, in the refrigerator.