Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Relatively Inexpensive Valentine's Day Recipe #2: Chocolate-Covered Strawberries

This one's so easy it's practically cheating.

Like last time, start with the chocolate. This time, meltability is key--chocolate chips are probably your best bet (go for a brand with a high cocoa solids percentage, like Ghirardelli). Get the kind of chocolate you like best--dark, milk, even white works, though it's tougher to melt (it breaks easily). Melt the chips in a double-boiler (or, do it like I do it, in a metal bowl over boiling water). You can add a smidge of some flavoring agent if you like (liqueur, cinnamon, chili powder, some kind of extract) without compromising the chocolate's ability to set, but personally, I think this tastes great plain.

While you're melting the chocolate (stirring thoroughly), slap a sheet of wax paper (or foil) over a cookie sheet and wash the strawberries (a pint works great for two). Once the chocolate is thoroughly melted and the strawberries are drained (you can dry 'em in a dishcloth if you need to hurry), start dipping: you can do it with your fingers, a skewer, or a fork, but it's pretty self-explanatory: dunk the strawberry in the chocolate and plunk it down on the wax-papered cookie sheet. Let them set up at room temperature, but once they're set, you can refrigerate them.

If you want to get really fancy, you can add some dribbles of white chocolate (melt it, let it set slightly, spoon it into a plastic bag, and cut a teeny hole in the corner for a cheap and easy piping bag), or you can place a conversation heart on each strawberry before the chocolate sets.

I know strawberries are expensive this time of year, but there's no way the basic version of this recipe will run you more than $8 or $9.

Eat with a partner. Feed each other, drink champagne, have a grand old time.

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