If I can be honest, I am not a super big fan of Valentine’s day. I feel there are high “buy-something-for-valentine” tones attached to the day. But I do love to make something handmade for the sweet-toothed loved ones and chocolate-covered fruits are everyone’s favorite.
Here is how to make it:
You will need strawberries or any other dried fruits that you like dipped in chocolate. I have used semi-sweet vegan chocolate chips, but you can use any kind that you like–dark or milk chocolate. If you want to create variety, choose your favorites to accessorize the dipped fruit; mine are shredded dry coconut, slivered almonds, and cacao nibs (this is chocolate in pure form, you can find it in local co-ops or health food stores). You will also need coconut oil and vanilla extract. The quality of your finished treat will greatly depend on the quality of the ingredients. Get the best quality chocolate. Choose dark red blemish-free strawberries with nice aroma. If using dried fruits, make sure they are moist, plump, and aromatic.
Wash the strawberries and dry on a paper towel. Drying strawberries is a crucial step. If not dried properly, chocolate and strawberry almost play out the water-and-oil phenomenon. If you dip even a slightly wet strawberry in liquid chocolate, it tends to bunch up and not stick properly. How do I know this? The first time I made this recipe a few years ago, my strawberries were not dry. So please make sure that strawberries are completely dry. You want to do this step at least an hour before you start melting the chocolate.
Technically, you will need a double boiler to melt the chocolate. But any two pans that fit snugly will do the job. Place chocolate chips in the smaller pan and hold it over the boiling water in the larger pan. Here is the most important rule to melt chocolate in this make-shift apparatus. Do not let the bottom of chocolate pan touch the boiling water. To do this, keep the water level shallow in the bottom pan. Once the chocolate is melted (2-3 minutes), take it off the heat and stir coconut oil and vanilla extract. Keep stirring the mixture for 35-45 seconds and then add some hot water right out of the bottom pan. Take the top pan back to the boiling water for 30-40 seconds. Once the chocolate blends completely with oil and water, take it off the heat.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper (wax paper may not work as the hot chocolate may melt the wax on the paper.) Also, make sure that the size of the baking sheet is compatible with your refrigerator storage. Hold a strawberry by its head and dip it in the melted chocolate. It’s your choice if you want to dip it half way or three-quarters of the way-it’s really flexible. By the way, this is a great project for kids, especially of you are making treats for a big crowd . Shake off excess chocolate and lay the strawberry on its side on the lined baking sheet. If you are wondering if all that wet chocolate is going to stick to the parchment sheet, then take it easy. Once the chocolate is set, it will come off easily. Repeat the process with all the strawberries and dried fruits (if using). If you are using any accessory ingredients, this is the perfect time to sprinkle those on top of chocolate-dressed fruits.
Transfer the baking sheet to refrigerator and let the chocolate set for 25-30 minutes. Take it out of refrigerator 15 minutes before serving. The strawberries taste the best if eaten within a few hours of making. After 4-6 hours strawberries have a sort of stale taste to them. Chocolate-covered dried fruits, however, can be enjoyed for a couple of weeks (mine never last that long) when stored in an airtight container in refrigerator. Enjoy!