It’s almost Valentine’s Day. As a kid, this meant the appearance of pink-frosted cupcakes, Hershey’s Kisses, Conversation Hearts candy, and Cinnamon Hearts, not to mention red licorice and heart-shaped sugar cookies. Some of these things are still making an appearance lately as other adult family members indulge a sugar cookie craving. For me – a self-described sugar addict – this makes life hard. Confections just look soooo good. And I miss chocolate covered marzipan a lot. So I’ve come up with an idea of how to treat myself.
Most followers of a Paleo lifestyle will tell you they occasionally indulge in things like honey, agave nectar, and very dark chocolate (at least 70% cacao). A little indulgence now and again, and in moderation, does no harm. The difficulty is that I find dark chocolates with very high cacao concentrations very bitter and sour. The solution, I decided, was to make a mostly-paleo version of chocolate-covered strawberries.
Find strawberries that are fresh and not frozen, and which do not need trimming. Wash them and place them on paper towel. Allow them to dry from their little bath.
Melting chocolate can be a hazardous experience. Burning and lumpiness occur with alarming regularity. Thus, the best way to melt chocolate is in a double-boiler. Basically, this is a wide pot with hot or boiled water in the bottom (about an inch of water), and another pot or steel bowl (wider than the first pot) placed over it. Actual double-boilers can be bought, but I have found that a steel bowl slightly wider than the pot works fine too.
Once you have your water warming, place chunks of high-quality dark chocolate into the upper bowl or pot. Using a high-end dark chocolate usually means fewer additives will already be in the chocolate. Add a little butter – this makes the chocolate a little softer. As these melt, mix them together. They should melt slowly, and you should stir often. Beware of the steam from the pot below. Once everything seems melted, sir in a little honey or agave nectar (which, in small amounts, won’t spike your insulin levels like cane sugar does). Then add a tiny splash of heavy cream (about a teaspoon). Whisk this well. This results in a mostly paleo-version of sweet chocolate.
Now remove the bowl from the bottom of the double-boiler. Using your pre-washed fresh strawberries, hold onto the leafy top and dip each one about half-way into the warm chocolate mixture. Set each one on parchment or waxed paper to harden. Once they’ve hardened, arrange them on a plate and cover them with plastic-wrap and keep them in the fridge until you serve them, so the exposed berry doesn’t wither or dry out. While it’ll be pretty unlikely you’ll have leftovers, if you do, eat them the next day. These don’t keep very long without withering.
This can be done with fresh cherries too. Truthfully, I’d rather have these than cupcakes or candy anyway! Enjoy.