(Feb. 14, 2020) Unexpected company can cause complete havoc if one does not have a few recipes that can be prepared on the spur of the moment.
Since time is of the essence, decisions need to be made quickly. Cooking time must be kept to a minimum if merriment is to flourish.
Chocolate covered strawberries have come a long way. Simplicity has been replaced with elegance and sophistication; this current trend makes for a dazzling dessert.
Inspiration is literally in the hands of the beholder. Following are a few helpful tips and creative ideas for stunning, decorative strawberries.
It is imperative to completely dry your strawberries before dipping them in chocolate. Otherwise, the moisture will keep the chocolate from properly adhering to the strawberry.
CandiQuik chocolate coating that is packaged in microwavable trays are simple to use and easy to clean up.
If you have chocolate leftover, simply store in a Ziploc bag and place in a cool area. The chocolate will last for several months.
Chocolate is delicate by nature, especially when applied to heat. Follow instructions precisely when melting chocolate, or you might end up with a burnt mess.
If your chocolate starts to get thick, add a touch of canola oil to smooth it out. Make sure you incorporate both ingredients thoroughly.
If you are coating strawberries with toppings such as crushed pistachios or pretzels, insert a bamboo skewer into the strawberry and dip it into the chocolate, allowing the excess to drip off.
Then, place the dipped strawberry over a paper towel and sprinkle toppings over the melted chocolate. Insert the skewer into a block of Styrofoam and refrigerate until ready to serve.
Decorating pens are perfect for those whose piping skills need a little work. Cover the strawberry in chocolate of your choice and allow it to set (harden). Warm the pen in hot water, snip off the tip, and decorate.
Edible candy coatings, sprinkles and glitter can be purchased in an array of colors and flavors. These embellishments add an incredible “wow” factor to your dish.
Gold dust is another option. This product is used when air-brushing desserts. It is generally mixed with vodka as opposed to water because the alcohol evaporates faster.
But for those who are not professional pastry chefs, mix the gold dust with a few drops of water.
Using a pastry brush, brush the mixture onto the dipped strawberry for a beautiful, stylish look. You can also decorate your serving plate for an added element of adornment.
A bouquet of chocolate covered strawberries is a festive idea. If you want to kick it up a notch, a small terra cotta planter filled with crushed Oreo cookie dirt, chocolate covered strawberries, cupcakes and fresh flowers makes a gorgeous, edible centerpiece.
Strawberry towers that are made of dipped strawberries and fresh flowers are a spectacular arrangement that will make a lasting impression.
Once you learn how to make a strawberry tower, it can be customized for any occasion. Instructions for a basic strawberry tower follow.
A nine-inch Styrofoam cone will need approximately two trays of CandiQuik chocolate, three (1-pound) containers of fresh strawberries, and three bunches of mini carnations.
Wrap the Styrofoam cone in plastic wrap. This step ensures the strawberries will not touch the Styrofoam. Do not wrap the bottom of the cone, this will cause the cone to be unstable.
Wash the strawberries and allow to dry thoroughly. I cannot reiterate how important it is to dry the strawberries thoroughly.
Remove chocolate CandiQuik from the package and microwave according to instructions.
Holding the greenery, dip the strawberries in the CandiQuik and swirl so the strawberry is mostly covered. Place on a baking sheet lined with wax paper.
Repeat this process for the remaining strawberries. Refrigerate for at least one hour.
Start forming your tower from the base of the cone. Insert a bamboo skewer through the upper portion of the strawberry and then push the skewer through the cone at a 45-degree angle facing upward, otherwise the strawberry will slip off.
Snip the bamboo skewer with a clean pair of pruning shears. Using the flat end of another skewer, push the inserted skewer into the strawberry so you do not see the inserted skewer.
Repeat this process until you have two rows of dipped strawberries at the base of the cone.
At this point, you will see small amounts of the white cone showing in between the strawberries. Insert a small straight pin into the base of the flower, then insert it into the cone in between the strawberries.
The mini carnations will not only fill these empty spaces but also add to the beautification of the tower.
Continue alternating dipped strawberries and flowers until the tower is completely covered. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Presentation: place the strawberry tower on a sturdy, decorative plate and garnish with powdered sugar or edible glitter.
If you would like to view more detailed instructions, google “Delmarva Life, Deborah Walker, and Strawberry Tower.”
In closing, if you need a dessert and do not have much time, consider homemade chocolate covered strawberries. One does not have to be a professional chef to achieve a fabulous finale. Enjoy!
Secret Ingredient – Time. “Better three hours too soon than a minute too late.”
– William Shakespeare