Yummmmm.....
This delicious berry is in its peak season, and what better way to enjoy it than covered in delecible chocolate?!

Something so simple, but somehow elusive to some. Let's fix that! Of course, you will want to start with plump, sweet strawberries, free of blemishes or seeping parts. The green stem part should be bright and also free of any blemishes or brown parts. Kind of like a fish's eyes, the stem of the strawberry can often tell you how fresh it is. Now the question: to wash, or not to wash? Chefs often say - just brush the debris away; a wet strawberry is doom for the chocolate! I agree to a certain extent. Part of me can't eat a fruit that isn't washed, but yes, it ABSOLUTELY has to be DRY!!!! So wash gently under cold tap water, but dry thoroughly with clean paper towels or soft linens.

For this project, I prefer the Merckens chocolate. You can use milk or dark, whatever your preference. Even white is fine! Melt 30 seconds at a time in the microwave, stirring bewtween rounds, until it is lump free. Line a cookie sheet with either parchment paper or foil. Dip the strawberry, being sure to coat thoroughly (but here I like to let the red just barely peek out from the chocolate - it is so pretty, and gives you a peek of what is to come). Place on the cookie sheet. For flawless strawberries, I let it sit there for about 15 seconds, and then MOVE it to another spot.

You heard me right. The chocolate will drip off and leave a somewhat unsightly rim. If you move the berry after it stops dripping, it is perfectly clean! Dip, dip dip, dip, dip. Now we get to the point where the chef's advice starts to make sense. Water is the enemy of chocolate. Ever drop water straight into chocolate? It stiffens (or siezes) up. Strawberries are moist. Everytime you dip, you are putting a little water into your chocolate, and by the time you get to the end of your batch, you can hardly dip anymore! Some of you are saying, "Ohhhhh.... I get it now!" How do you fix it? PARAMOUNT CRYSTALS.

Little chips from the magic wand. Sprinkle a few chips into the melted chocolate and stir in until you get a nice, smooth flow.
Kind of like the old magazines that had the great tip of adding shortening to the chocolate to thin it? One problem - the chocolate would then stay soft, and you can't handle the strawberries! With the Paramount Crystals, it firms back up just tlike the original chocolate!! This works great especially with colored chocolates or older chocolates that tend to be thick even when you melt them. The berries are great like this, but if you want to add an extra special touch, add a drizzle. The trick is to move fast, not to drizzle carefully and deliberately.
You can do this with the same chocolate you dipped with, or with another color of chocolate. You can even color coordinate with a wedding, birthday, or baby shower! Pick up some of the chocolate with a spoon, and let it fall back into its bowl until it has a very thin stream. Very quickly (almost flinging it), zig zag back and forth over the berry. Remember - thin stream, move fast. Last tip: going back to the wet berry thing, the strawberries will start to release water once the sugary chocolate is on it, and will start to get soggy (like cut strawberries in sugar).

If you have an event, dip the strawberries that morning. If you try to dip them a day before, you will end up with a mushy mess. I hope you enjoy the rest of the summer, and be sure to treat yourself and your friends to a plateful of these gems, even if there isn't an occasion!