Chocolate dipped berries easy to make

It’s Valentine’s Day. The holiday of love, or as my single friends call it — Independence Day.

While the skeptics may think it’s a holiday created by mass marketers to sell cards, chocolate and flowers (and there may be a bit of prosaic truth to that), all the starry-eyed romantics seize the opportunity to let Cupid fire a dart into their ever-loving hearts. And I think that’s grand.

Among the traditional Valentine’s Day treats, there is one that uniquely fits in the frugal and fabulous category in which I dwell. Namely, chocolate dipped strawberries.

Speaking of such, I have a small request: Please stop overpaying for chocolate dipped strawberries. When I see ads asking $29.99 plus shipping for a dozen dipped strawberries, it makes me crazy.

Historically, strawberries are on sale the week of Valentine’s Day and a bag of chocolate chips costs less than a box of chocolates. I think we’re in business.

You can give these to absolutely everybody and they’ll love you for it. Your paramour, your mother, your grumpy boss and everyone in between.

But, please make them yourself because they’re embarrassingly easy to prepare. You choose the chocolate: dark, semisweet, white or milk chocolate. You can also choose the quality and cost of the chocolate.

For these photos, I used very inexpensive chocolate candy coating, sometimes called almond bark, which is the easiest thing in the world to use. A bag of chocolate chips works perfectly. Alternatively, you could buy a high-quality chocolate bar, chop it up and use it instead.

It’s a good thing these are a relatively healthy treat because I consumed a bunch of them — the ones that didn’t turn out pretty enough to photograph. I felt sorry for them. So, I ate them.

CHOCOLATE DIPPED STRAWBERRIES

What You’ll Need

1 pound strawberries

8 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped

3 ounces white chocolate, chopped, optional

Wash and completely dry your strawberries but don’t hull them. In a microwave-safe glass dish, melt the chocolate in the microwave at 30 second intervals, stirring in between, until the chocolate is melted and smooth. Allow the chocolate to cool slightly.

Holding the strawberry by the stem end, dip each strawberry in the melted chocolate. Place on parchment or wax paper to set. Repeat with the remaining strawberries.

To drizzle with white chocolate, repeat the heating process. Dip a fork in the chocolate and drizzle the strawberries.

To make tuxedo berries, dip in white chocolate and let set up. With dark chocolate, dip the sides of the berry at a 45-degree angle from both sides to make the “jacket.” Place on wax paper to set.

Place some melted dark chocolate into a piping bag with a very small tip, or in a zip top sandwich bag with the little corner snipped off and pipe on buttons and bow tie.

Presentation is key. Place them on a pretty plate or a festive box. Extra points for bows and hearts. Give them to people you know and love, especially yourself.

Happy Valentine’s Day.

Lifestyle expert Patti Diamond is the recipe developer and food writer of the website “Divas On A Dime – Where Frugal, Meets Fabulous!” Visit Patti at www.divasonadime.com and join the conversation on Facebook at DivasOnADimeDotCom. Email Patti at divapatti@divasonadime.com

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