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Feb 7, 2007 07:16 AM

Chocolate Dipped Strawberries

Am thinking of doing these for a party on Sat. night. I have noticed that some recipes have oil or Crisco mixed into the chocolate while others are just plain chocolate. Any thoughts on this?

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  1. Yes - never mix Crisco into anything, particularly not nice chocolate. Those recipes are trying to save you the trouble of tempering, which some people would have you believe is a terribly difficult process only to be attempted with accurate thermometers and significant expertise. They're wrong. Tempering is the process that ensures your chocolate will stay shiny and properly "crisp" and it's easy.

    Here's what you do: Get enough chocolate for easy dipping - you should have plenty leftover. Don't worry, you can use it for something else later. Roughly chop 2/3s of the chocolate, put in a metal bowl. Melt it gently, being careful not to burn. (I like to boil some water, take it off the heat, and then put the chocolate in a bowl over the water, covered with plastic wrap.) Once it's thoroughly melter, add the unmelted chunk of chocolate. (This chocolate has to be in temper. Most chocolate that you buy will be, unless it's gotten overheated and bloomed white.) Stir. Stir. Keep stirring. Stir until the bottom of the bowl no longer feel warm. The chocolate should be liquid, but no longer warm to the touch. Take a metal spoon. Dip just the tip into the chocolate. Put it to the side for one minut. Now test. Has the chocolate on the tip of the spoon hardened? It's okay if it's a little tacky, if your fingerprint shows on it, but it should be firm. If it is, you've got temper, and you're set to go. If no, keep stirring. If the chocolate starts to get thick before you achieve temper, just throw it back over the water for a few minutes to warm. Then stir, stir, stir.

    Once your chocolate is in temper, you can dip your strawberries. Make sure that strawberries are perfectly dry. When you dip, you want to get the excess chocolate off the strawberry so that it won't pool around the bottom. To do this, you lift and drop the strawberry a few times, making sure that the stream of chocolate remains connected to the chocolate the bowl below (which will require bring the strawberry right to the edge of the pool of chocolate).

    It sounds complicated, but it's really very easy. Just remember to test your chocolate - as long as the tip-of-the-spoon test is good, your chocolate will be fine.

    OPh, and don't use chocolate chips, the type shaped like little kisses. Those already have some Crisco or something in them to help them retain their shape, which is why they don't taste all that great.

    10 Replies
    1. re: curiousbaker

      Curiousbaker you sound like you really know what you're doing on this so maybe you can provide some advice: The problem I have every time I do this is that the chocolate is so thick. It's not a liquid, more like a thick yogurt, so lots of excess chocolate sticks to whatever I want to dip. Does this mean it is not in temper (i thought it was....)? How do you get a somewhat thin coating?

      1. re: Produce Addict

        Some chocolate manufacturers add more cocoa butter than others, yielding a more liquid chocolate. Valrhona is nice and runny and will give you a thin coating. Or look for 'couverture' in other brands, which is made for melting and coating.

        1. re: babette feasts

          Right on. It's a quality difference. Unless you're really letting the chocolate get too cool before you dip - sometimes I've found that if I don't use enough chocolate, it goes from "liquid but cool" to "overly thick" in just a minute of two.

          It's true that some people don't temper, they just chill the chocolate. It's fine, it just depends on how fussy you are. Most people don't really care about the sheen or the texture, but if you do, you need to temper.

      2. re: curiousbaker

        Sorry if I'm being a pain, but there's something that doesn't make sense no matter how much I reread. It is stated above, "This chocolate has to be in temper. Most chocolate that you buy will be,". If this is the case why do you have to temper? I don't get it just go out and buy the tempered chocolate, melt it carefully and away you go. What am I missing here?

        1. re: Jambalaya


          Here's a pretty good article on tempering and chocolates. I'm not a professional chef so the added step for my home presentations are not worth the effort. Mrs jfood has made hundreds, if not thousands of chocolate dipped strawberries using the method below and she receives nothing but raves and can i have mores.

          1. re: jfood

            The writer here recommends semi-sweet, milk or white chocolate. Do you know if this procedure can be done using dark bitter chocolate instead (70% cocoa+)?

            1. re: sandrina

              Sorry for the belated reply. I am not sure is the only answer I can give. Sorry

              1. re: sandrina

                Yes, tempering is the same no matter the chocolate.

            2. re: Jambalaya

              It's a crystallization thing. Theoretically, you could melt chocolate at a very, very low temperature, and it wouldn't get out of temper. But one it gets too warm (and, short of a completely controlled environment, it will), the cocoa crystals go all out of alignment. In order to get them to line up again in shiny formation (I give very technical descriptions, I know), you have to "seed" the melted chocolate with some chocolate that's already crystallized in the proper way.

              1. re: Jambalaya

                There is chocolate that is "in temper" which, when you come right down to it, means it's the right temperature, about 90 deg, melted (if it's melted but too hot or too cold, it won't crystallize the way you want). When chocolate in temper cools and hardens, it's tempered chocolate, what you'd often buy in stores, even chocolate chips are. Shiny and crisp to the bite. But, if you melt this tempered chocolate, it won't be tempered anymore unless you get it to the right temperature. So, what the seeding technique does is raise the temperature too high, then you add small bits of tempered chocolate (like you get from the store) to cool it to the right temperature. I think it's easier to temper it in the microwave--microwave 30 seconds, take it out, stir, repeat. Once it starts melting be meticulous and take the temperature after stirring. When most is melted, continue stirring and take temperature. If it's too hot, I'll add a little chocolate here or you can keep stirring and until it gets to the right temperature,

            3. I always buy a chocolate called Merckens. The Bakers Catalogue carries it but so do local baking supply stores. The most popular cake place around here told me the best way to melt the discs is to put them in a pyrex casserole and put them in the oven at 200 for 10 minutes. Stir and back in at 10 min. intervals until the chocolate is melted. Make sure the strawberries are dry and room temp when you dip. After they harden at room temp you can move them to a cold place. NEVER make strawberries more than a day in advance. I use the leftover melted chocolate poured in a drinking glass and dip pretzel rods in it and sprinkle with nuts, sprinkles, coconut, etc. Good luck!

              1. Mrs Jfood has perfected this art and can do a quart in 15 minutes.

                - She uses ghiradelli chocolate, usually bittersweet, sometime semi or white.
                - OK sit down now, she melts the choclate in a ramekin in the Microwave. Yup in 10-15 second bursts. I kid you not.
                - The strawberries have to be pefectly dry. paper towels work great. She dips them in and swirls them, then swirls above the melted chocolate to remove excess and onto a baking sheet.
                - Into the frifge to harden and...

                Voila, a quart of chocolate dippers for the family.

                For fancy ones, use the dark chocolate. When they are hard, melt the white chocolate in MV using the 10-15 second method. Cool slightly (already not too hot, just melted) and place in the corner of a plastic storage bag. Snip the teeniest of holes inthe corner and use the baggie like a icing piping bag and go back and forth over the strawberries. People will think you're a star.

                For extra fancy, do the double-dip. Melt both white and dark chocolate. Dip half the strawberries in dark and theother half in white. Fridge. When heard, take out of the fridge, Remelt the chocolate and dip the dark ones, halfway up with white chocolate and the reverse with the whites.

                2 Replies
                1. re: jfood

                  For extra-extra fancy, make tux-berries. Dip first in white chocolate. Let harden. Then in dark chocolate at an angle, so the chocolate covers one side of the berry diagonally across to 1/2 way up the other side. Let harden. Repeat with dark chocolate on the opposite side. Now you have a triangle of white showing between the dark. Use your piping bag and draw a little bow tie at the top of the triangle. Fussy, but cute as the dickens.

                  1. re: curiousbaker

                    Yup, they are adorable. Some hotel left them decorated like that in my room because i was gold status. They were fun to eat.

                2. Thanks so much for all the help... I know they will be a hit. In 35+ years of cooking I have never tried these and with Valentines Day it seemed like the thing to do.

                  1. No need to temper the chocolate; it's a pain in the rear. Just melt the chocolate of your choice, dip the berries and put on waxed paper or parchment (or nonstick foil) and chill. Yeah, the chocolate won't be shiny but most people don't care, and if you drizzle the white chocolate over, no one will see that the dark chocolate isn't shiny. They are impressive as all get out and you will be a star. :)