DIY Valentine’s Day treats: Chocolate-covered strawberries

Valentine’s Day: the day of love … and chocolate. And what better way to spend it than with someone special … and some homemade chocolate-covered strawberries?

Here are some tips and tricks for making these treats, which are sure to make hearts melt.

First: Buy high-quality chocolate.

While it may be tempting to grab the cheapest bag of chocolate chips, you’re going to get what you pay for. Low-cost chocolate chips tend to not melt as well and taste more processed once melted. Higher-quality baking chocolate is made for melting and usually doesn’t have a strong processed taste when used. Baking chocolate chips, bars or cans work great for strawberry dipping.

Step one is preparing the strawberries. Room-temperature strawberries seem to work best, so pulling them out of the refrigerator for an hour or two before dipping is recommended. After washing the strawberries, it is extremely important to dry them. The chocolate will not stick well if the berries are still wet.

Before dipping the strawberries, make sure to have a parchment-lined baking sheet ready to go, along with any desired toppings. Some popular toppings include nuts, toasted coconut, crushed Oreo cookies and graham cracker crumbs.

Next up: melting the chocolate. The easiest way to melt baking chocolate is in the microwave. Heat the chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl for 30 seconds, take it out, stir and repeat until the chocolate is smooth. Because the melted chocolate will start to harden relatively quickly, the chocolate may need to be reheated between every few strawberry dippings.

Once the chocolate is melted, the dipping may begin. Hold the strawberry by the green leaves at the top and roll it all the way around in the chocolate, making sure to cover as much of the strawberry as possible. Pull the strawberry out and either sprinkle or roll in the toppings. Lay the strawberries on the parchment-lined baking sheet. If desired, drizzle them with melted caramel or white chocolate.

Chocolate-covered strawberries usually only last up to two days before going bad, whether in the fridge or on the counter. They do not freeze well, either. A procrastinator’s dream, try to wait until the last minute to make these so they taste as fresh as possible.

— By Lauren Reichenbach

Lauren Reichenbach recently joined the My Neighborhood News Network as a reporter and photographer

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