Easter just happens to be on my Mother's (and my brother's) birthday this year, so I've been trying to decide what fun treat to bring over that is both fun for Easter and Birthdays. I also have to keep it Gluten free so I've been trying to find the perfect thing without having to go too fancy. Luckily we had a great submission come in and I think I've got a great idea now. Here it is:
The Original Pin
Carrot Strawberries! Aren't those fun? I think they're pretty cute. Our submitter, Cathy, says, "I came across a buy one package of strawberries, get one free at the store and thought I could make those chocolate covered strawberries that look like carrots from Pinterest - perfect timing for Easter. Well it turns out, I can't."
"I must say that I did not follow any instructions as I have melted chocolate in the past for chocolate dipped pretzels. Anyway, I tried melting my first bag of white chocolate in my brand new double boiler. It got way too hot way too fast and I ended up over-cooking the chocolate. At this point I was determined to get it right...off to the store for some more white chocolate. So I decided with the second bag of chocolate I would keep the temp down quite a bit. The chocolate started to clump and I thought "what do I have to lose now?" So I dipped the strawberry but the chocolate just wasn't smooth enough so this [above] is how it turned out. On the GCT Fail Scale, I give it a 3...because it looks bad but didn't actually taste that bad (according to my husband)! Lesson learned: buy more Han one bag of chocolate so I don't have to make several trips to the store! Oh, and read the instructions!"
I have a few theories on this. Here we go.
- The heat. Chocolate is finicky. It has to be melted just right or it is no longer smooth and creamy. If you don't have one of those awesome chocolate tempering machines (and alas, most of us do not), then you have to watch the chocolate to make sure you're not frying it. If you are using a double boiler, you want the heat on low. I know it seems like it would take forever, and it may, but you won't scorch your chocolate that way. You don't want the water in the lower portion to boil...that's way too hot. Many packages now give microwave instructions. I've had relative success with that. Just follow the instructions. I've sometimes even just used a pan on the stove and had the burner on as low as it would go. Stir your chocolate as it melts.
- If chocolate gets water in it, it will seize (clump and get grainy). Always make sure all the utensils and bowls you are using are completely dry, and avoid wooden spoons. If you do end up with seized up chocolate, don't throw it away. http://candy.about.com/od/workingwithchocolate/a/chocmistakes.htm says that even though it's not good for dipping anymore, save it for baking!
- Cathy mentioned going and buying white chocolate, but she didn't say how she went about coloring her chocolate. With chocolate you have to use chocolate or candy coloring. DO NOT use just the normal generic food coloring. It will seize up your chocolate. Many places now carry the colored chocolate chips, so if you don't want to deal with coloring your chocolate on your own, see if you can find the pre-colored chips. They make things way easier for those of us who want fewer steps.
So there are my thoughts and tips for this. Dipping chocolate can be tough, but it's so fun and exciting when it works out! Give it a try!