When purchasing fresh strawberries from the grocery store, shop with your nose. Always pick the plumpest and most fragrant berries. They should be firm, bright, and fresh looking with no mold or bruises, and fresh green caps (stems). The caps should be bright green, fresh looking and fully attached.
Strawberries do not ripen after they have been harvested, so choose strawberries that have been picked fully ripened. They should have bright red color, natural shine and fresh looking green caps.
Line baking sheets or cookie pans with waxed paper, parchment paper, or aluminum foil. Make sure the baking sheets are large enough to place all the strawberries, as well as giving each a few inches of room for each chocolate strawberry for after dipping.
Gently wash the strawberries with cool water and pat dry thoroughly with paper towels; set aside. Make sure the strawberries are completely dry. Even a drop of water in the melted chocolate can cause it to "seize" and turn the entire mixture into a grainy mess.
If you use refrigerated strawberries, allow them to come to room temperature before dipping in the melted chocolate. If you use cold strawberries, condensation will form and that will prevent the chocolate from sticking.
Using one of the below methods, melt the chocolate chips:
In the top of a double boiler overhot water, not boiling water, do not let the bottom of the bowl touch the water, melt chocolate, stirring until smooth. Be careful as boiling water may cause steam droplets to get into chocolate which can result in "seizing," when the chocolate becomes stiff and grainy.
If you don't have a double boiler you can improvise one by placing a glass or stainless steel bowl over a pot of simmering water (don't let the bottom of the bowl touch the water).
Remove from heat and let the chocolate cool slightly, but it should not set.
Microwave Melting Chocolate:
In a microwave-safe bowl, melt chocolate chips using either the defrost setting or 10-percent power in the microwave.
Microwave for 1 minute, then check and stir. If you need more time, do it in 10 to 20 seconds intervals (check and stir after each addition of microwave time).
Remove the container from the microwave and stir the chocolate until completely melted. Baking chips and baking chocolate may appear formed and un-melted after heating but will become fluid after stirring.
How To Dip Strawberries in Chocolate:
Grasp the stem or green leaves of the strawberry and dip into the chocolate andswirl in chocolate to partially cover. If the strawberries don't have a stem to grasp, pork a toothpick into the stem end.
Give the strawberry a little shake as you withdraw it from the chocolate (this will fill in all the cracks and leave a nice even line of of chocolate at the base.)
When the strawberry is completely withdrawn from the chocolate, swirl it in a quick, clockwise motion to let the excess chocolate drip off.
Place on the prepared cookie sheet. Repeat with the rest of the strawberries.
If you are going to decorate the berries, allow the chocolate to set for a minute, then sprinkle with decorations. Sprinkling works better than rolling as it’s easier to control the coverage. You may cover your chocolate strawberries with nuts, sprinkles, coconut, or anything else you desire.
To decorate with white chocolate patterns, melt the white chocolate in a double boiler. When the white chocolate has melted, drizzle the white chocolate with a fork over the already chocolate-covered strawberry and drag a toothpick through the white chocolate in the opposite direction. You can also use a small piping bag to create an kind of pattern you desire. For clean white lines, allow the chocolate to set up completely, then drizzle with the white chocolate.
Either place strawberries into refrigerator or set aside to allow the chocolate to harden, about 30 minutes. Transfer fruit onto a serving platter to serve.
NOTE: The chocolate dipped strawberries are best if eaten within 24 hours - refrigerate for longer storage, but serve at room temperature for greatest flavor.
Makes 60 Chocolate Covered Strawberries.