Antioxidants abound! Fresh berries bursting with folate, potassium, fiber, Vitamin C and Manganese enveloped in delicious pure dark chocolate radiating heart-healthy flavonoids. Cut time as well as the fatty, sugary processed ingredients required by most chocolate dip and fondue recipes by enlisting your microwave to melt perfect-as-they-are dark chocolate bars into sauce. Rarely the brand snob, I will recommend you use Lindt Excellence Extra Dark Chocolate bars, 85% Cocoa bars, which are actually quite natural comprised of only 5 ingredients: Chocolate, Cocoa powder, Cocoa butter, Sugar, Vanilla.
I’ve provided options for both the uber easy traditional chocolate dipped strawberries, as well as my Valentine’s themed Cupid’s Arrows, if you have a few minutes to assemble these weapons of mass seduction. Like the Red Velvet Heart Cupcakes http://www.fitnessandfuel-la.com/?p=411, Cupid’s Strawberry Arrows are perfect to make for or with children and adult guests at holiday parties. Don’t get too mushy! Make no more than 2 days in advance of serving so the berries stay firm.
4 3.5oz Lindt Excellence Extra Dark Chocolate bars, 85% Cocoa
2 pounds large fresh strawberries with leaves, washed and dried
Reduced fat unsweetened shredded coconut
Unsalted nuts such as blanched almonds or diced walnuts*
DIRECTIONS: Lightly mist a small (6-8 inches diameter at top) microwave-safe bowl and large plate with olive oil to prevent sticking. Break chocolate into small pieces and place in bowl. Place optional coconut and almonds in separate small bowls. Microwave chocolate for 3 minutes at 50% power. Stir halfway through and after the 3 minutes. Add more time in microwave and stirring if chocolate isn’t thoroughly melted and smooth.
For Traditional-Style Dipped Berries
Holding strawberries by leaves, dip the strawberries into the chocolate mixture and place on the plate. Place in fridge to fully harden. Reassemble on a serving dish. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
For Cupid’s Arrows
Two options for arrow assembly. The difference is purely cosmetic so you decide what turns ya on! Both can be made with a combo of large and small berries, the latter which will probably make up the majority of the berry package. I created the arrow ideas based on my own difficulty finding a full package of large red berries. Stupid February! Not even my California paradise has perpetual berry season.
Before even dealing with chocolate, prep arrows. Grab 3-4 long very thin, about 1/8” diameter, wooden dowels at a craft store, Target, etc. You also need a large thick flat piece of styrofoam. With a sturdy scissor, cut dowels into 4-5 inch long sticks. Option 1 generally will need more sticks than Option 2, but ultimately it completely depends on the size of berries in box and if Option 2, how many berries you thread on each stick.
Option 1: Cut a V at the top of each berry carefully removing the stem and leaves without shredding the remaining fruit. Make a second V cut about 1/3 inch from top and separate what will become the arrow’s vane or feathers (V shaped piece) and point (berry bottom). Press a stick half way through the arrow point. Holding the non berry end of stick dip arrow point into chocolate. Roll in coconut or nuts if you choose. Flip arrows point up and press naked end securely into the styrofoam or box. Place box and berries in fridge for at least 20 minutes to fully harden. Remove chocolate berries from fridge and box and press naked end of dowel through center of strawberry Vs. Place completed arrows on serving dish. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
Option 2: You can also make “kebab-style” arrows. Use a knife and make a cut through the styrofoam then break styrofoam in two pieces. Separate the largest 6 berries and set aside. Divide the small berries between the 6 sticks and skewer through the side like a kebab With all berry points facing downward, dip skewered berries into chocolate up to the stick. Press stick ends into both pieces of syrofoam so that berry sticks are suspended between the two pieces of styrofoam. Place foam and berry sticks in fridge for at least 20 minutes. While the chocolate hardens, prepare the larger berries. Cut a V at the top of these berries carefully removing the stem and leaves without shredding the remaining fruit. Make a second V cut about 1/3 inch from top and separate what will become the arrow’s vane or feathers (V shaped piece) and point (berry bottom). Remove dipped berries from fridge and styrofoam and press the stick through the berry point on one end and vane (V-pointing in same direction as the arrow point) on the other. Place completed arrows on serving dish. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
* Nut Note: Smaller pieces will stick better. Break nuts up a bit further by pressing your fist on top of sealed bag of nuts. Crumbles are fantastic. Less ignorant and lazy people may use a food processor; however, be sure to merely dice as too much will puree into nut butter.