Post #696 Chocolate Covered Whatever

February 12, 2020 at 2:35 PM | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Two days before Valentine’s Day, whee.  I’m not a big fan of this day and never have been.    I won’t go into why I think it’s the most superficial, jaded celebration ever.  However, there is one thing about this day that “they” got right.  It’s also a celebration of chocolate.  I can’t imagine how much is spent every year on boxes of chocolate and chocolate novelties.  Not even a guess.  But, I like making my own chocolate treats and I’m going to tell you how.

First of all, you have to decide what kind of chocolate treat you want because the varieties of chocolate get more numerous every week.  I’ve hear about two new versions called Rose (or Pink), and Golden.  I remember when the choice was nuts or no nuts.  Not anymore.  My favorites in no particular order are dark, bitter(or semi)sweet, and milk.  We won’t go into white chocolate.

Once you decide what kind of chocolate you want to work with, you need to decide what treat you’re going to make.  There are incredibly simple but elegant sweets, and there are some that are so technically challenging I won’t even read the process for them.

Once that’s worked out, you have to make sure you know what to do with the chocolate, and that you have all the necessary equipment for making the treat, sweet, candy you want.  Luckily, for most of the simple ones, the equipment needs are also simple.

So, in the interest of having this ready for Valentine’s Day, I’m going to talk about the simple treats.  The first treat is going to be chocolate covered cherries.

Don’t confuse these with cherry cordials.  My mom was addicted to those and every Christmas as a kid less than 10 years old, that was my present to her.  Of course, back then a one pound box of cherry cordials cost about a buck so it was a great gift all around.

First, you need to select the cherries.  They must be ripe.  They must have no bad spots on them at all.  They must have a stem for easy dipping and eating.  They must be a visually appealing as any cherry ever grown.  Select one or two pounds.  Wash them to make certain there aren’t any pesticides or waxes on them.  Then allow them to air dry, or dry them by hand with paper towels, whatever you prefer.  Once the cherries are ready, melt 8 oz of your preferred chocolate in a double boiler.  For instance, I would use bittersweet chocolate so I would use the standard Nestles chocolate chips.  You could also use bar chocolate, but break it into smaller pieces first.  Do not be tempted to melt the chocolate in a microwave because this can burn the chocolate which makes it taste nasty.  Think burned popcorn and you get the idea.  Once the chocolate is melted, remove it from the heat and add another 6-8 oz of chocolate.  This will help temper the chocolate make it more appealing.  Now it’s time to set up an assembly line.

Place the bowl of cherries on your left, then set the bowl of chocolate next to the cherries.  Set a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper cut to size to cover it next to the chocolate.  Then simply take a cherry by the stem and dip it into the chocolate and swirl it.  Pull the cherry out and set it immediately on the tray.  The chocolate will flow down the cherry a little forming a small base so the cherry will stand upright.  Do this for all the cherries.

Next you want to decorate the chocolate.  If you want to add sprinkles or chopped nuts or coconut to the outside, sprinkle all that on as soon as the cherries have been dipped.  Or you can melt a small bit of contrasting chocolate (think white, or dark for this if you’re using milk chocolate or bittersweet.)  Pour the melted and cooled chocolate into a small zip lock bag and snip the tiniest bit off a corner.  Drizzle the chocolate over the dipped cherries.  You can also use a spoon or fork for this, but the result can be messy.  Another thing you can do is dip the cherry completely in one chocolate, and once that has set, dip it half way in the contrasting chocolate so you get a two toned effect.

Once the cherries have all been decorated (or not if you prefer) allow them to cool completely in the tray and NOT in the fridge.  Chocolate loses its shine when it gets too cold.  After they’ve been cooled completely, place them on a plate or in a nice looking box, then throw your face into the middle of them and graze.

Another way to make these that’s less messy is to use small paper cups.  Dip the cherries and place them into the cups.  Add any decorations and let cool.  The cups will keep the chocolate contained and the ridges will look nice.

There are all kinds of things you can dip into chocolate so don’t think just cherries.  I personally have had all these dipped in chocolate:

  • Strawberries
  • Bananas
  • Pound Cake
  • Angel Food Cake
  • Marshmallows
  • Caramels
  • Mint pillows
  • Potato Chips
  • Pretzels
  • Fudge
  • Coconut Macaroons
  • Grapes

The only thing I wouldn’t try is anything wet.  I wouldn’t try melons or mangoes or pineapple or citrus, although those flavors can be added to chocolate in other forms and taste wonderful.

You follow the same process, but you might need to use a fork or a special candy dipping tool to keep your fingers clean for some of these.  So if you’ve got time, and want to make a chocolate treat for someone special whether it’s Valentine’s Day or not, this idea will put you in the money.  Unless the other person is allergic to chocolate.  In which case, never talk to them again.  You can do without that kind of negativity.

As always,

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