Chocolate-Dipped Strawberries

24 to 30 perfectly ripened strawberries, green caps intact
6 oz sweet, semi-sweet, bittersweet, or white chocolate, coarsely chopped

Rinse strawberries; dry thoroughly on paper towels. Melt the chocolate in the top of a double boiler set over simmering water; or in a nonstick skillet set over low heat; or in a glass bowl in the microwave (on full power in 30-second intervals.)

Regardless of the method used to melt chocolate, stir it as it starts to soften. Chocolate should not be too hot — it will be thin, and will drip off of the strawberries. If the mixture seems too thick, add 1 to 2 tsp flavorless oil. Be careful — overheating chocolate may cause scorching and keep it from blending properly.

Insert a toothpick into the stem end of each strawberry and dip into the chocolate, coating 3/4 of the berry.

Spear the free end of the toothpick into a piece of styrofoam or a grapefruit to allow the strawberry to dry upside down. (Strawberries may also be dried on waxed paper.) If the chocolate becomes too thick to work with, reheat gently. If desired, after the chocolate hardens, dip the tip in a contrasting chocolate.

After the chocolate hardens, remove the strawberries from the toothpicks. The chocolate-dipped strawberries are best if eaten within 24 hours — refrigerate for longer storage, but serve at room temperature for greatest flavor.

Makes 24 — 30 servings

Allergy Warning: Contains Milk

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