Question: My family eats strawberries year round. We crave chocolate. Please give me the secret to the chocolate-dipped strawberries like those served at the Woodstock Inn in Woodstock, Vt. — Gail Romadka, Minneapolis, Minn.
Answer: Since early times, strawberries have been a source of pleasure.
Strawberries cultivated by American Indians were crushed into a mortar, mixed with meal and served as strawberry bread. In provincial France, strawberries were regarded as an aphrodisiac, and newlyweds were traditionally served cold strawberry soup. And legend tells that if you break a double strawberry in half and share it with the object of your affection, love follows.
Versatile strawberries are great on cereal, just right for sauces and yummy encased in chocolate. When purchasing berries from the supermarket, always pick the plumpest and most fragrant berries. They should be firm, bright and fresh looking with no mold or bruises. Containers should be dry and unstained - stained containers may indicate over-soft berries that are not as fresh as they need to be. The caps protect the flavor and texture of the fruit, so wash the berries just before you plan to use them.
The grand, sprawling Woodstock Inn and Resort is a destination where luxurious accommodations and award-winning cuisine go hand in hand. The chocolate dipped strawberries are luscious as a finale to any meal.
2 pints large strawberries, rinsed, with stems left intact
6 ounces white chocolate designated for dipping and candy making, preferably microwaveable
10 ounces dark chocolate for dipping and candy making, preferably microwaveable
Rinse strawberries; leave stems intact. Place strawberries on paper towels and pat with additional paper towels until all moisture is absorbed and berries are dry.
In top of double boiler over hot water (or in microwave), melt white chocolate according to directions on package. Hold berry by stem, dunk one side to partially cover in white chocolate and place onto wax paper-lined cookie sheet. Repeat for all strawberries. Refrigerate until white chocolate is set.
In top of double boiler over hot water (or in microwave), melt dark chocolate according to directions on package. Remove berries from refrigerator, and holding berry by stem, dunk in dark chocolate to cloak in a chocolate "jacket." Place the berry onto a wax paper-lined cookie sheet.
Repeat to "jacket" all strawberries. Make buttons and bow tie by dotting dark chocolate on white chocolate.
Refrigerate strawberries until chocolate is set; transfer fruit onto serving plate. Yields about 2-dozen chocolate dipped strawberries.
Diane Howard is a columnist for Hunt House. America a la Carte welcomes recipe requests. Send the complete address of the restaurant along with your name, address and phone number to America a la Carte, P.O. Box 5994, Austin, Texas 78763-5994, or fax 512-453-2145. E-mail email@example.com.