En español | My daughters, Maggy and Sharon, and I were in Murietta, Calif., all last week getting ready for the Big Potluck, our semiannual retreat weekend for nearly 100 food bloggers and sponsors. No typical hotel-kitchen conference food for us: We made everything — from Friday night's opening reception fare and Saturday's three big meals to Sunday's farewell brunch. To keep our food team sane, the dishes were all make-ahead.
The chocolate-dipped strawberries were the event's big hit. They were perfect for the potluck for many reasons. Strawberries are in high season now, and strawberries and chocolate are both bright lights in the "superfood" world. They're also wonderfully photogenic. Plunge ripe strawberries into a pool of melted dark chocolate, and camera-armed bloggers start snapping their next sexy food shot for Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. But it all comes down to taste. After the photos, everyone indulges. The pleasure is immediate, and the flavors are simple and powerful.
We could have dipped the strawberries in melted chocolate alone, but as chocolate sets, it hardens to its original solid state — too brittle for a delicate berry. To solve that problem you can melt a little shortening along with the chocolate to soften it. But since shortening is partially hydrogenated (a bad-for-you trans fat), I've found that heart-healthy coconut oil works just as well and has a subtle, pleasant flavor.
Final tip: Use seasonal local strawberries and high-quality chocolate. Then enjoy this beautiful dessert.
Makes 1 pound
- 4 ounces dark bittersweet chocolate
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 1 pound strawberries
Heat chocolate and coconut oil in a medium bowl; set over a pan of simmering water until completely melted. Working one at a time, hold strawberry by its stem and dip into chocolate mixture, letting excess drip back into bowl. Place on sheet of parchment paper; let cool until chocolate is set. (As long as you store them in a cool place out of the sun, they can be dipped a day ahead.)
AARP food expert Pam Anderson is a best-selling cookbook author and blogger at threemanycooks.com.
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