When did chocolate-dipped strawberries become so popular? I don’t remember any type of dipped fruit being around when I was a kid. We usually had chocolate-covered fruit, especially cherries, at Christmas, but that’s not quite the same thing. I guess the first time I had chocolate strawberries was maybe about five or six years ago when a friend bought a small box of them in a gourmet candy shop while she was on vacation. The berries were huge, and some were covered in dark chocolate, some in milk chocolate, and some in white chocolate.
She offered the box to me to try, and when I noticed the price tag, I wouldn’t take more than one. I was shocked at how expensive they were! Oh, they were yummy—strawberries dipped in chocolate…what’s not to love! They were decorated to be very attractive, too, but I still couldn’t see paying so much for dipped fruit. I decided to try making my own and figured, “How hard can it be?” Making chocolate strawberries isn’t really hard, but there are a few tips and guidelines you need to follow. I’m sharing my experience with you here, along with a few chocolate-dipped strawberry ideas.
There are several types of candy coating you can use. You can make your own with semisweet chocolate or with white chocolate if you like. You’ll need to chop the chocolate and melt it in the microwave or in a double boiler over water. You can even use chocolate chips for the coating. Just melt one pound of chocolate chips together with two tablespoons of Crisco or some other solid vegetable shortening. Use a double boiler for melting.
I often like quick and easy, so I usually use microwaveable candy coating. You can find it in just about any supermarket, and it’s super easy to use. All you have to do is break off the amount you think you’ll need, place it in a microwave-safe bowl, and heat it until it’s melted. Be extremely careful not to overcook the coating. I’ll give you more tips and information about that later in this article.
Some cooks like to melt colored candy coating for dipped fruit. I haven’t tried that yet, though. If you want to add some color to your berries, you might want to consider coloring the white chocolate. If you do, use special candy coloring or oil-based food coloring. The water-based food coloring will ruin your coating.
Tips for Dipped Strawberries
If you follow some general guidelines for dipped strawberries, you shouldn’t have any major problems. First of all, firm berries work best. Larger berries are easier to work with, so you might want to take that into consideration, too. Another important point about the fruits is that they need to be completely dry. Even a tiny amount of water can ruin a batch of melted coating. Of course, you’ll want to rinse the berries first, but let them air dry on paper towels for a while before dipping them.
Now, for the coating. Carefully read the heating directions on the package, and follow them to a tee. In fact, you might want to use a slightly shorter cooking time than the one that’s suggested. I melt my coating in the microwave. I cook it for about 45 seconds before checking it. I continue cooking in 10-15 second increments until the coating has almost completely melted. If one “chunk” is still in a square block shape, it will usually finish melting when you stir the coating. It’s much better to undercook than to overcook. You can always heat it for a few more seconds, but once the coating is overcooked, there’s no going back.
I like to heat my candy coating in small batches. It starts to harden pretty quickly, and if you keep reheating it, it will eventually overcook and be useless. Oh, I almost forgot. Make sure the bowl you use for melting the coating is completely dry.
Work quickly and have everything ready. Have a sheet of waxed paper ready to receive the dipped fruit. To dip the berries in the coating, hold them by the stem or insert a toothpick into the top. I sometimes use a wooden skewer like the ones used for grilling shish-kabobs. When a berry has been dipped, hold it over the bowl of coating and allow it to drip.
Chocolate Dipped Strawberries
For chocolate-dipped strawberries, I like to use a milk chocolate candy coating. Sometimes this is sold as “almond bark.” The type I like to use comes in a slab that’s divided into small blocks. Actually, it’s not completely divided. It’s still attached at the bottom, but it’s scored deeply. You have to separate the blocks with a knife or some other kitchen tool. You’ll need to decide whether you want to use dark chocolate, milk chocolate, or both. Then you’ll need to choose a brand. I’ve tried numerous brands of chocolate coating, ranging from cheap generic brands to more expensive name brands, and I honestly can’t tell the difference—in taste, in texture, or in performance.
White Chocolate-Dipped Strawberries
White chocolate strawberries are made the same way choc covered strawberries are made. There are two different coatings you can try. One type is called “white chocolate,” and the other is called “vanilla candy coating.” I’ve tried both, and I honestly can’t tell any difference in taste or texture. The one very slight difference I’ve noticed is in color. The vanilla is a whiter white, while the white chocolate has a hint of cream color to it.
I told you that I couldn’t tell the difference between the cheap and more expensive brands of chocolate coating, but I can with the white chocolate or vanilla coating. I have no idea why this is true, but the cheaper versions don’t seem to have the same consistency. Here, the popular name brands work better. They seem to be a little thicker, so the melted coating does a better job of covering the dipped fruit.
I checked the prices for chocolate-dipped strawberries on a popular website. Nine gourmet strawberries cost $20. That’s more than two bucks per berry. You can buy a whole carton of strawberries for about that same price, and if they’re medium to large in size, you’ll get about fifteen berries or more. Figure in about two more dollars for the coating, and your total cost will be $4 for 15 dipped strawberries. That comes out to less than 27 cents per berry. Had you rather pay $2 for a dipped strawberry, or does $0.27 sound better?
Okay, you’re probably thinking something like, “But the chocolate strawberries you buy are so pretty. I could never do that at home.” Yes, you can. Okay, they might not be quite as pretty, but they can be darn close. The expensive ones definitely aren’t ten times as pretty, as the price would almost indicate. If you can write and roll, you can make your own gourmet strawberries in your own kitchen and save a bundle. Dipped strawberries make great party food, and they’re perfect for gift-giving. Even people on your list who are hard to buy for usually appreciate homemade goodies.
I think tuxedo strawberries are super cute, and they’re perfect for more formal events. To make them, you’ll need dark chocolate or milk chocolate coating, along with white chocolate or vanilla candy coating. Obviously, you’ll need some fresh strawberries, too.
Once your berries have been rinsed and are completely dry, melt a small amount of white chocolate or vanilla coating. Working quickly, dip just the front section of each berry in the coating. Let any excess drip away, and place the dipped strawberries on a sheet of waxed paper. Once the coating has hardened, melt the chocolate.
Holding a berry by the stem, angle each berry sideways and immerse it into the milk or dark chocolate, coating just one side. When that firms slightly, repeat the process with the other side. When both sides of the “tuxedo” have hardened, use a toothpick dipped in the darker coating to make a bowtie and buttons.
Dipped Strawberries Ideas
Now for the fun part—some dipped strawberry ideas! Some of these are super easy, while others require a little more skill. Honestly, though, none of these ideas are difficult. Just remember that if you want to roll or sprinkle the berries, you’ll need to do so while the coating is still wet and sticky. The same is true if you want to attach things like tiny candies to the strawberries dipped in chocolate. On the other hand, if you’re decorating your chocolate-dipped strawberries with icing, you’ll need to wait until the coating has hardened.
Consider rolling your dipped strawberries in crushed pecans, almonds, or pistachio nuts. You might also like rolling your berries in cookie crumbs. For holiday treats, finely crush some peppermint candies and roll white chocolate-dipped strawberries in the peppermint. Miniature M&Ms also work well on dipped strawberries.
Of course, you can also use chocolate and vanilla or white chocolate coating on the same berry. You can dip half the berry in one and the other half in the other. You can completely dip a berry in one coating and drizzle it with the other. Sometimes I make double-dipped strawberries, and the grandkids love them. I dip the berries in the melted chocolate coating first. When it completely hardens, I then dip the berries in white chocolate or vanilla coating. Sometimes I do it the other way around.
Another easy way to decorate your coated strawberries is with things you can sprinkle onto the still-wet coating. These include silver sugar, gold sugar, edible glitter, candy sprinkles, chocolate sprinkles, or colored sugar. When I made my dipped strawberries today, I used writing icing on some of them. This type of icing comes in small tubes, and all you have to do is to write with it. Wait until the candy coating is hard before you use the writing icing.
On one dipped strawberry, I made a little Christmas tree with green icing and put red dots on it with red icing for the ornaments. I also made initials on some of the choc covered strawberries. I think these would be great for parties or as a gift. You could pipe the recipient’s initial on all the chocolate strawberries! The giftee will most likely think you spent a small fortune. I’ll bet that once you get started, you’ll come up with all sorts of ideas for your chocolate-dipped strawberries!