Wednesday, April 14, 2010

33. Chocolate Covered Strawberries - Fun Food

Something happens to people when the word chocolate is mentioned...usually it garners a big smile and maybe even a far-off look of remembrance...the last candy bar or box of chocolates, a dish of ice cream and maybe a piece of chocolate cake...definitely sweet memories. I would like to feel sorry for people who don't like or cannot eat chocolate, but deep down all I am really thinking is,"Yippee...more for me!"

One of the most fun classes I ever taught was all about chocolate. I spent weeks preparing recipes to share and teach. On class night, we tested and tasted and by the end of the evening...we were almost chocolate coated...and felt slightly ill...but, what a way to go!

The funniest chocolate recipe I ever read was for chocolate covered ants. It follows:

Chocolate Covered Ants
1500 ants
3 C melted chocolate

Catch ants and keep them in a glass jar. Add a little will help to keep them occupied and add to their sweetness.  Carefully lift lid and, using tweezers, pick up ants one at a time and replace lid. Quickly dip the ant in melted chocolate. Hold the coated ant up to drain away any excess chocolate and place ant on waxed paper. This process should take about 350 hours. If an ant happens to survive and crawls off of the him out the door...he has earned  his freedom!

The addition of chocolate makes some food a lot more hot fudge on ice cream, chocolate syrup in milk, a rich glaze for fruit and frosting or cream on cake. According to an internet source, chocolate covered strawberries were introduced by Lorraine Lorusso in the 1960's at a store named "Stop n Shop" located in Chicago. I have not been able to verify this claim, but whoever figured out that fruit could be dipped in chocolate and eaten like a giant, juicy confection, should be given special recognition in the chocolate hall of fame. * see note below

For me, chocolate covered strawberries are the ultimate treat in the dipped-fruit category. While quite priecy to purchase, this delightful dessert is easy and inexpensive to make at home.

Chocolate Covered Strawberries

1 C semi-sweet chocolate chips (use real chocolate)
1 T solid shortening
Large strawberries, washed lightly and dried (do not cut the stem or leaf end)
(Use only unbruised fruit)

Put chocolate and shortening in a small pot. Place over a second pot which has water simmering in it. Melt the chocolate and shortening, stirring to combine. When chocolate is melted, take off of the heat and tilt pot to keep the mixture at one end of the pot. Pick up the strawberries by the stem end and roll in the chocolate to coat 3/4 of the way up the sides. Place coated strawberry on waxed paper. When chocolate is hard, put berries on a plate, cover and refrigerate. These should be eaten within a day.

Excess chocolate may be saved by spooning it onto a piece of waxed paper. When hardened, fold paper over and put in a plastic bag. Store in a cool, dry place. To use, melt as above or add it to another batch.

Caution: Do not let any water from the bottom pot splash into the chocolate, it will ruin the mixture.

*Note: While there is no official chocolate hall of fame, there are individual websites that give personal recognition to different kinds of chocolates and chocolate makers.

 One well-maintained site and gives honors of mention to special chocolate professionals on a yearly basis

The above site has mentioned Shawn Askinosie, from Springfield, MO as his first chocolate hall of fame inductee

For 2010,  the honor went to Art Pollard of Orem, UT

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