The hassle of working with melted chocolate can put off the most ardent cook, with fears of having chocolate seize or concerns about proper tempering. If a novice with chocolate, using chocolate bark is the most forgiving medium for ease of use. |
I am by no means skilled with chocolate. My first experience with chocolate dipping was little chocolate cake mice for a Princess Party. An ambitious project, the mice bodies turned out wonderfully. The chocolate dipping part had me terrified. I used chocolate bark because it was less expensive that finer chocolate in case a batch was ruined. The chocolate bark was easy to work with. It melted well over slow simmering water in a double boiler. It dried quickly on the mice, making them easy to handle. Saving leftover chocolate for later worked like a charm.
The second time I made these, I ran out of chocolate bark before I ran out of mice to dip. I melted some quality dark chocolate, dipped the mice and set them to dry. It took at least three times the amount of time for the chocolate to set. It was far too soft, easily leaving fingerprints. I have been informed that mixing quality chocolate with chocolate bark makes a great combination. It heightens flavor while maintaining ease of use.
With that in mind, here are some foods to dip for Valentines Day or any special occasion. I prefer melting chocolate bark over a double boiler. For safety, keep the water in the bottom pot at a very low simmer, or steam will shoot out. This heightens the risk of burns to the skin. Keeping the chocolate at a steady liquid state throughout the process is key.
Whether you buy wafer cookies, filled cookies, or make your own, they are easily dipped. Cookies can be completely dipped into the melted chocolate and set to dry on waxed paper, or artfully half dipped. Another idea is to completely dip wafer cookies, and then make a flavored icing. Make a sandwich cookie out of the two dipped cookies with icing between.
Any fresh fruit dipped into chocolate will require being eaten in a relatively short period of time. Fresh chocolate covered strawberries are the most common. Other fresh fruits that could be dipped are chunks of pineapple, banana, kiwi slices and cherries. Pomegranate arils can be mixed with the chocolate and dropped from a spoon to dry in clusters.
If willing to go a little further, first completely dip strawberries in melted white chocolate. Allow them to dry. Have chocolate bark melted and waiting. Dip the berry in the chocolate bark first on one side, then the other. This leaves a V shaped wedge of the white chocolate layer showing. With melted chocolate bark in a piping bag, pipe on buttons and a bow tie, making them look like little tuxedoes.
Dried Fruits and or Nuts
Dried fruits, notably apricots, apple rings or dried banana chips work well also. Raisins can be mixed with the chocolate and dropped from a spoon in clusters. Dried cherries or craisins can be made the same way. If desired, add in nuts of choice. Walnuts and cherries make a great combination, particularly served with a nice port wine. Raisins can be mixed with any nut, peanuts being common, but what about mixing raisins and pistachios? Think up interesting combinations, or use special favorites of your loved one.
Some other common foods that are chocolate dipped are pretzels. From tiny individual pretzels to large pretzel sticks, they can be entirely chocolate dipped, or half dipped. This can be done with popcorn or potato chips also. Bacon is the latest craze for mixing with sweet applications. Fry the bacon, drain well and roll into a tight curl and skewer with a toothpick to cool. Once cooled into shape, dip into the chocolate.
These are by no means all the ideas out there for chocolate dipping, but hopefully some ideas to get you started. With love in the heart and a positive mindset, all sorts of wonderful things can be accomplished.
Thank you for taking the time to read my article. I hope it was informative and helped you along your own culinary journey. Visit my Web site A Harmony of Flavors my Blog at A Harmony of Flavors Blog my Marketplace A Harmony of Flavors Marketplace or Facebook page, A Harmony of Flavors. I hope to see you there soon.
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