Advanced Chocolate-Covered Strawberries
Don't let the photograph fool you. With a little time and patience, you can create an entire bouquet of chocolate covered strawberries, and for a lot less than you'd pay at Edible Arrangements.
Supplies for this project will run you about $25 bucks. The good news is you'll only need to make two stops: the supermarket and your local arts and crafts store.
- An old vase or jar
- Chocolate (we recommend Ghirardelli's 60% bittersweet baking chips)
- Colored chocolate candy wafers (also known as candy melts, these come in a variety of colors and can be found in the candy making section at your local arts and crafts store)
- A bag of 12" plant stakes or shish kebob sticks (we like the stakes because they're already green; you'll find these in the floral section)
- Greens, aka leaves (you can buy artificial greens or, if you're lucky enough to have a backyard, just head outside and start clipping)
- A block of oasis (that the green Styrofoam-looking stuff that florists use to hold arrangements in place; you'll find this in the floral section too)
- Wash and dry your strawberries. (Wet strawberries + melted chocolate = lumps, and we don't want lumps now, do we?)
- Pour about 1/3 of your chocolate chips into a microwavable bowl and pop them in the ‘nuker for about 20 seconds. Stir and repeat as needed until all of the chocolate has melted. Eat the remaining chips to sustain yourself during the creation of your bouquet.
- Grab a plate and place a sheet of wax paper on top, then spear your first berry with one of the plant stakes. Now you've got a "stem" for your "flower" and the perfect handle for dipping the berry into the melted chocolate. Swirl it around to make sure it's nice and evenly coated then place it on the wax paper to harden. Repeat until all your berries are coated in chocolate.
- While you're waiting for your berries to dry, it's time to prepare your vase. Cut the block of oasis so it fits snuggly inside. You can secure it with a piece of tape across the opening of the vase if needed. And don't worry: you'll be able to cover the tape in the next step.
- Separate your greens if they're still bundled together and stick their stems into the oasis. Don't worry about making a pattern or keeping things symmetrical, just make sure to space them evenly throughout to create a nice base for your bouquet. We recommend starting with just four or five stems now; you can always fill in later.
- Take out your Ziploc bags (you'll need one for each of your colored chocolates) and unfold it over a mug so that it stands on its own. Melt a handful of the colored chocolate wafers like you did before but keep in mind that different colors require different amounts of time in the microwave. Start with 10 or 15 seconds then increase as needed. Once the chocolate is melted, pour it into the bag, zip the bag and clip the tip with your scissors. Now you've got yourself a make shift pastry bag filled with chocolate!
- Channeling your inner Picasso, use the colored chocolate to "paint" your flowers. You can do stripes or polka dots but we recommend swirls: they're easy and it doesn't matter if you mess up. If you're feeling super-creative throw in a few illustrations like a smiley face, heart, or something with special meaning for the two of you. Experiment with different colors if you like. We chose purple and yellow to create a unified color scheme that incorporated our vase but you can choose your sweetheart's favorite colors or red and pink for Valentine's Day.
- Once your "paint" is all dry, it's time to assemble your bouquet!
Stick your "flowers" into the oasis one by one. Try to alternate colors and heights to give the bouquet depth but don't obsess. Fill in any "bald spots" with your leftover greens and voila! You're done: your very own bouquet of chocolate covered strawberries, done in your sweetheart's favorite colors at a fraction of the cost.
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