Strawberries and chocolate brought some love to a rather not-so-fun day. There is not much of a recipe. Chocolate covered strawberries need no recipe. It is more of an hour of play with the kids.
So we did play, my girls and I. To brighten up my day.
The first time I ever had a good strawberry was when I was 21; the time when we moved here. The first time I ever saw a strawberry was probably when I was seven or eight years old, while we were in the forests of this beautiful hill station in Darjeeling, India. While my dad was collecting samples (he is a scientist and was in a research institute; hence the field trip), my maa and me sat on a log. And we saw these pretty green leaves sprawling everywhere with tiny little strawberries dotted beneath them. I had seen these elusive things only in the books!
I cannot describe how I felt – a million years ago, but imprinted in my memory in a way that feelings draw a picture. I had found a treasure chest, in a setting I would say popped right out of a story book; a world of polka dotted mushrooms, elves and pixie hollows and a ground covered with strawberries. I loved the mountains, the smell of the pleasantly chilly air, the tall trees encompassing us with the rhododendrons breaking the soft green with the sudden, vibrant colors and the sun rays streaming in from the haphazard open pockets of the lush, sensuous greens, glistening and shimmering on the moss . We sat on a lichen covered fallen log. Maa’s shawl was lightly wrapped around her. I do not remember what we talked of, but I know I did not want anything more. The calm and the profound silence of the mountains protecting us like a fort, the blissful company of my parents were all that I needed. Finding the strawberries was the gift of the day.
We went wild picking the strawberries. And ate some. They did not taste as good as they looked. But we did not know what strawberries tasted like, so we really did not mind the washed out, watery taste of these newly found jewels. When we got back, we left the extras on the table for the next day, only to find that they were a terrible mush – all gone bad. Not a very pretty sight. I cried buckets of tears. I do not remember anything after that, nothing more about that trip.
The story of the strawberries was kept locked up inside me until I encountered the true strawberry here; enormous red ones, a little tart but juicy sweet ones and they tasted nothing like the ones we fell in love with in the forests of Darjeeling. Even then, I always associate strawberries with that one rapturous day.
The girls came back from school and suggested that we make chocolate covered strawberries and we did. Little T has a serious weakness for chocolates. She waited impatiently for all strawberries to be coated, grabbed the bowl of melted chocolate and scraped it off.
Decorating the strawberries would have been even more fun; sprinkles and drizzles and all pretty things. But we had to rush off to other activities. There will always be a next time.
Working with the girls with strawberries all around unleashed my memories, and I had to post this – even if it is not much of a recipe.
Chocolate Covered Strawberries
- 6 – 8 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
- 1 pound strawberries with stems (about 20-24), washed and patted dried – completely with no wet spots.
- 1.5 tablespoon coarsely ground almonds or any other nuts (optional)
- chocolate sprinkles or colored sprinkles to decorate (optional)
If you use refrigerated strawberries, allow them to come to room temperature before dipping in the melted chocolate. Make sure all the strawberries are completely dry and I really mean it. Even a little bit of water will turn the chocolate to become grainy or in a more formal term “seize” the chocolate.
Put half the amount of the semisweet in a heatproof medium microwave safe bowl. Melt half the chocolates in a microwave, for 1 minute, stir and then heat for another minute or until melted. Combine the rest of the chocolate and the nuts if you are using and slowly stir it in until all of it is melted and is silky smooth.
Or fill a saucepan/pan with a couple inches of water and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Turn off the heat. Place the chocolate in a bow and set the bowl of chocolate over the water to melt. Stir until smooth. Remove from heat. Stir in the crushed nuts in you are using.
Line a tray/baking sheet pan with parchment or waxed paper. Hold the strawberry by the stem, dip it into the melted chocolate; while you lift it give it a little shake (to fill up empty/uncovered spots) and finally twist it slightly to allow any excess chocolate to fall/drip back into the bowl. Set strawberries on the parchment/waxed paper. Repeat with the rest of the strawberries.
If you are using sprinkles, lightly sprinkle them over the melted chocolate or if you adventurous enough roll the coated strawberries in the sprinkles. Alternatively you can sprinkle crushed nuts. There are a lot that can be done to decorate the already pretty looking fruit.
Chill for 30 minutes to an hour or until the chocolate hardens. Enjoy!
Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Cooking/Chilling Time: 1 hour
Difficulty Level: Very Easy
Serves/Makes: approx. 2 dozen strawberries