What to Dip
- Make sure it’s very fresh and ripe. Even the pricest chocolate can’t disguise the bitter taste of an unripe, midwinter strawberry.
- Take the fruit from the fridge about 10 minutes before dipping in order to take the chill off and prevent the chocolate coating from cracking.
- The fruit needs to be absolutely dry and free of moisture before dipping.
- Whole or halved nuts work best, but sliced or chopped nuts are great too. Put them in small clumps on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet and spoon on the melted chocolate.
- If you’re buying a large bag of nuts from a big-box store, taste them as soon as you’ve purchased them. If they taste stale, take them back!
- Pretzels, potato chips and other salty junk food can bring a delicious balance to the sweetness of the chocolate. If you’re buying these in a super-sized quantity, make sure they are fresh!
- Bacon! Thick-cut bacon works best. Fry it until very crispy. Cool completely before dipping.
- Marshmallows and cookies.
- Dried fruit. Apricots, pineapple and apples are addictive.
- Zucchini. I’m not kidding. Slice fresh zucchini sticks and dip them in powdered sugar... then into chocolate. Amazing.
- Water or moisture in your chocolate will cause it to “seize.” This means it will get hard, crumbly and grainy.
- Chocolate that gets too hot will also seize. That’s why you need to melt chocolate slowly and at the lowest possible heat until smooth.
- If chocolate seizes, blend in 1 tablespoon shortening for every 4 ounces of chocolate and stir constantly until the chocolate is smooth again.
- Chocolate bars and squares are best for melting. They put additives in chocolate chips so the chips will keep their shape. You want the best and purest chocolate you can afford with only these ingredients: cocoa beans, sugar, cocoa butter, soy lecithin (an emulsifier) and vanilla.
- Chocolate should be warm (not hot!) and have a thin consistency so it gently coats what you’re dipping. If it’s too cool it will be thick and ugly.
- Use a potato masher to dip fruit, pretzels or cookies in hot melted chocolate.
- Don’t waste the last bit of chocolate in the pan! Spoon the remaining chocolate into a plastic resealable bag and seal. Snip off a tiny piece from the bottom corner and drizzle it over anything still left to dip!
- Cool your dipped items on a tray lined with parchment paper.
- After coating the goodies, tightly wrap the chocolate and store it in a cool, dry place. You can also refrigerate for up to 2-days.
Decadently Delicious Chocolate Dippers
prep: 10 minutes
cook: 10 minutes
2 cups (16 ounces) chopped chocolate (semi-sweet, milk or dark)
fresh and dried fruit, candy, cookies, pretzels or nuts
On top of the stove
Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
Place the chocolate into a heatproof glass or metal medium-size mixing bowl.
Fill a medium saucepan half full with water and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Remove from heat.
Place the bowl of chocolate over the water to melt. Stir until completely melted and smooth.
Remove the bowl from the saucepan and place on a cutting board or trivet. Dip the fruit, candy, cookies, pretzels or nuts into the chocolate and place on the lined sheet pan. Refrigerate for 15 minutes or until set.
In the microwave
Place the chocolate in a microwave-safe container.
Heat on medium power (50%) for 1-minute. Stir chocolate.
Continue heating on medium power (50%) for 1-minute intervals, stirring afterwards each time.
Repeat as directed until completely melted and smooth. Dip the fruit, candy, cookies, pretzels or nuts into the chocolate. Place on the sheet pan. Refrigerate for 15 minutes or until set.
Cooking know-how: Make sure your bowl is completely free of moisture before beginning… and don’t let water as it boils get in the melting chocolate.
more great recipes, kitchen gadgets and ideas at: http://www.mamashighstrung.com
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