Homemade gifts are awesome, especially on Valentines Day. I’ve always considered Valentines Day heavily slanted toward women with the flowers and chocolates and jewelry, but guys deserve some love too! Homemade gifts are a thoughtful way to let your sweetie know how much you love them. It’s easy to run to the store and buy a gift card, but it takes much more time, effort, and care to make something from scratch. We’ve established that I am sorely lacking in the craft department, so when I think of homemade gifts my mind immediately wanders to food. Sweets, in particular. Surprise, surprise right?!
In the dessert world chocolate covered strawberries are everything! They are:
- incredibly simple (to the point where I chuckle that I even consider this a recipe worth sharing)
- healthy (fruit + dark chocolate = antioxidant dessert happy dance)
- festive for any occasion (dare I say sexy??)
Recently I’ve been using Ghirardelli melting chips to make my chocolate covered concoctions (note: Ghirardelli has no idea this blog exists, I just love their products). I prefer melting chips (instead of regular chocolate chips) because they don’t have stabilizers which results in a smoother texture and creates a glossy, even coating. In the photos below I used regular white chocolate chips for the drizzle and you can tell it is thicker and almost clumpy; next time I will make sure I have white chocolate melting chips on hand. Lesson learned! It’s important to choose really good quality chocolate when making chocolate covered strawberries because there are so few ingredients, you want each one to be the best.
Which leads me to my next tip: if you have access to fresh organic strawberries use them in this recipe! Winter is not peak season for fresh berries, but organic berries stay sweet and amazing all year long.
I recommend using a double boiler to melt the chocolate. A double boiler is really easy to make; all you need is a small sauce pan and a heat safe bowl. Fill the sauce pan with 2 inches of water and bring it to a gentle simmer. Place the bowl on top of the sauce pan; the bowl should be wider than the pan because you don’t want the bowl to touch the water but instead rest an inch or so above. The gentle heat from the simmering water will slowly melt the chocolate and create silky smooth chocolatey goodness.
- 1 lb. fresh strawberries (organic preferred)
- 1 c. dark chocolate melting chips
- 1/2 c. white chocolate melting chips (optional, for decoration)
Make a double boiler, as described above. Fill a sauce pan with 2 inches water and cover with a heat safe bowl. Bring the water to a gentle simmer then reduce the heat to low. Place the dark chocolate melting chips into the bowl and stir often until completely melted and smooth.
Meanwhile, line a baking sheet with a piece of parchment paper to prevent sticking.
One by one dip the strawberries into the melted dark chocolate leaving about 1/2 inch border at the top. Allow the excess chocolate to drip from the strawberries back into the bowl then place on the parchment paper to set. I love the color contrast between the dark chocolate, bright red berries, and the green tops; so pretty!
Place the baking sheet in the refrigerator for 1 hour to allow the chocolate to harden. If you have extra chocolate leftover feel free to dip store bought biscotti (another personal favorite), pretzel rods, bananas, graham crackers, fingers, whatever your heart desires. If decorating with white chocolate, place a new bowl onto the double boiler and melt the white chocolate melting chips. Place the melted chocolate into a squeeze bottle or piping bag and drizzle on top of the chocolate covered strawberries for extra decoration. Alternately you could use a fork to drizzle the melted chocolate. Again, I recommend using the white chocolate melting chips instead of regular white chocolate chips (like I used in the photos) because it will be easier to drizzle and won’t be as thick.
Once the chocolate has hardened arrange the chocolate covered strawberries on a pretty serving tray or cake stand. For gifts you could package them in cupcake boxes or on a decorative plate; two gifts in one!
Incredibly beautiful and delicious; this may be one of my favorite dessert treats. Enjoy!