Chocolate Covered Strawberries Are a Valentine's Day Classic
Strawberries and chocolate have long been associated with romance, but is there more to why chocolate-covered strawberries are a famous Valentine’s Day treat? As it turns out, both chocolate and strawberries contain aphrodisiacs. While aphrodisiacs may not increase desire, it has led to chocolate-covered strawberries becoming a Valentine’s Day staple. In the past, I have covered strawberries with chocolate and filled them with a cream cheese filling. This recipe combines both flavors but provides the illusion that the strawberry has not been cut and filled. It’s a more hands-on process than covering in chocolate or filling alone, but surprising a loved one is worth it.
Choosing Ingredients for Chocolate Covered Strawberries
When making chocolate-covered strawberries at home, you have the luxury of choosing the ingredients. I prefer bittersweet or dark chocolate, but you may enjoy milk chocolate! You can use any variety of chocolate. I cover my strawberries with dark chocolate and decorate with white. Some cover berries with white chocolate as the base, with milk or dark chocolate drizzle. No matter which you prefer, the general rule of thumb I follow is that if you wouldn’t eat the chocolate by itself, don’t use it as an ingredient. It will be a dominant flavor and should be enjoyed.
Create an Illusion By Covering Stuffed Strawberries
I always loved the flavor combination of chocolate and cream cheese with strawberries, but the presentation was always a struggle. Strawberries dipped in chocolate with the stem intact create an eye-catching design, and the stem provides a point to hold the strawberry. Many stuffed strawberries recipes either cut an X into the base or create a hollow to fill. I’ve always felt it takes away from the presentation. This recipe maintains the elegance and simplicity of a chocolate-covered strawberry but packs the flavor of cream cheese inside. When using the strawberry top as a lid, the chocolate acts as a glue to hold the top and conceal the cut. The added step is what creates the illusion of a whole strawberry.
Choose Your Own Strawberry Adventure
The great thing about chocolate-covered strawberries is that no baking is involved. With many baking recipes, there isn’t much room for adjustments. If one ingredient is left out or added too much, it may ruin the bake. With chocolate-covered strawberries, you can make adjustments at any point. If you follow this recipe step by step, it will require about two and a half hours, depending on how fast you work. If you wish to cut back on the recipe time or leave out the cream cheese, steps can be skipped or adjusted.
To save some time, you can skip stuffing the strawberries. Alternatively, you can still fill the strawberries but discard the stem and pipe the cream cheese with a decorative tip. If you love white chocolate, you can coat the strawberries in white chocolate first and decorate with dark or milk chocolate. Consider the recipe a guide more than anything else. I’ve added some notes throughout the recipe if you choose different steps.
- 18 strawberries whole
- 8 oz cream cheese room temperature
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 10 oz bittersweet chocolate chopped
- 4 oz white chocolate chopped
Preparing the Cream Cheese Filling
- In a stand mixer, combine the room temperature cream cheese, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract.
- Mix on low speed until the cream cheese is smooth, and no clumps of sugar remain.
- Transfer the filling to a piping bag with a rounded tip. (If you will dip the strawberries without the tops, use a star tip to create a decorative effect.) Store the piping bag in your fridge while preparing the strawberries.
Prepare the Strawberries
- Rinse and pat dry the strawberries with a paper towel. This will help prevent the chocolate from seizing. When water comes in contact with melted chocolate, it creates clumps that are difficult to remove. If you are only covering strawberries in chocolate, skip to the next section.
Carving and Filling The Strawberries
- Cut the top of each strawberry off a quarter inch below the stem. If creating the illusion of the tops intact, keep the tops. I lay the strawberries out on a tray with each cut top above the berry to keep them matched. If dipping the strawberries with the cream cheese visible, discards the tops.
- With a melon baller or strawberry huller, create a hollow in the center of each strawberry. Be careful not to cut too close to the walls of the strawberry. Work in rows keeping the bases paired with the tops.
- Remove the cream cheese filling from the fridge, and pipe the filling into each strawberry hollow, only filling to the cut line. If you are not covering the berries, you can fill them above the cut line. Place the strawberries onto a tray lined with paper towels to draw away any exterior moisture. Skip to the next section if you are not covering the berries.
- To create the illusion, replace the tops onto each filled strawberry, and pierce a toothpick straight down through the stem. If the toothpick pierces through the base, it's okay. The chocolate will cover the hole, and the fruit will also hold the toothpick in place.
- Place each filled and capped strawberry onto a tray lined with a paper towel.
Coating the Strawberries With Chocolate
- If you have a double boiler, fill the bottom pot with an inch of water. If you don't have a double boiler, you can use a pot and a heat-safe glass bowl placed on top of the pot. Use a bowl that is larger than the pot to prevent it from sliding and falling in.
- Over medium-low heat, start to warm the water with the upper boiler or bowl set aside. Once steam starts to rise from the surface of the water, place the bowl or boiler on top of the pot. Add the base chocolate chosen. With a silicone spatula, stir the chocolate every minute until fully melted. Lower the heat to a simmer to prevent the chocolate from burning.
- Place the tray of strawberries near the double boiler. On the opposite side of the stove, line a baking tray with parchment paper. If dipping strawberries without the tops in place, skip to the next section.
Covering Illusion Strawberries
- Grasp each strawberry with your non-dominant hand by gathering the stems around the toothpick, pinching between your thumb, index, and middle finger. Hold the strawberry upside down.
- With your dominant hand, scoop chocolate onto the spatula and pour it over the strawberry. Tilt the strawberry to allow the chocolate to flow to the underside. Use the spatula to spread the chocolate evenly, and be sure to cover the cut line with chocolate. The chocolate holds the strawberry top in place.
- Once coated, place each strawberry onto the parchment paper with the toothpick still inserted. Once all of the strawberries are coated, chill them in the fridge until the chocolate hardens.
Covering Uncovered Strawberries
- Hold the strawberries with your fingers gripping along the cut line.
- Dip the strawberries straight down into the chocolate, swirling the berry around to cover all sides. Raise the strawberry out of the chocolate, allowing any excess to drip off back into the chocolate.
- Placed the covered berries onto a tray lined with parchment paper.
- Once all of the strawberries are coated, chill them in the fridge until the chocolate hardens.
The Final Touches
- While the chocolate base hardens, clean and dry the bowl or top boiler, piping bag, and spatula. This will prevent the chocolate used to cover the strawberries from discoloring the decorative chocolate.
- Attach a small round tip to the piping bag. A smaller tip will create a thinner drizzle.
- Place the bottom boiler over medium-low heat, add an inch of water. Once steam forms on the surface, place the top boiler or bowl onto the pot. Stir the white or dark chocolate until melted and smooth, and transfer to the piping bag.
- Remove the chocolate-covered strawberries from the fridge, and place the tray on a working surface. Pipe the decorative chocolate over each strawberry, creating a pattern that you like. I usually create lines with a zig-zag pattern.
- Place the tray back into the fridge for a final chill. If your strawberries are not covered, transfer the strawberries to a platter, and keep them chilled until ready to serve. To remove the toothpicks, continue to the next section.
Remove the Toothpicks
- Once the drizzled chocolate hardens, remove the strawberries from the fridge.
- Pull the toothpicks from each strawberry. If there is resistance, a fork can help. Slide the toothpick between two prongs, and hold the fork in place. Pull the toothpick out, allowing the fork to hold the strawberry in place. This will prevent holding the strawberry, and potentially cracking the decorative drizzle.
- Transfer the strawberries to a platter, and keep them chilled until ready to serve.
Chocolate Covered Strawberries Storage Tips
When planning how many strawberries are needed, I plan for three strawberries per person as a dessert. I usually pair this recipe with a cabernet. The sweetness of the cream cheese and strawberries pair beautifully with dry wines. If you prefer white wine, champagnes and riesling are great pairings.
If you have leftover strawberries, they can stored in an air-tight container for up to two days. After two days, the juices from the strawberries will start to soak through the bottom of the chocolate and break down inside. As strawberries ripen, ethylene is released. The chocolate traps that gas inside, causing the ripening process to speed up. Because of this, chocolate strawberries are always best eaten within 24 hours of preparation.
Tap Into Your Love Language
Chocolate covered strawberries are a fantastic way of showing your love and affection for someone special in your life. Chocolate strawberries are an inexpensive gift, but the thought behind making them is the true symbol of love and affection. They fulfill gift giving, and even an act of service. What are some of your own favorite Valentine’s Day desserts to enjoy? I’d love to hear them in the comment section below.