Friends and family won't be able to "contain" themselves when you present this Christmas masterpiece. It's twice the treat, since your guests can eat both the elegant container handcrafted from chocolate, as well as the juicy chocolate-dipped strawberries piled high inside. Our CW kitchen came up with this beautifully festive confection, guaranteed to draw oohs and aahs of approval. And they have included all the directions and tips you will need to duplicate this delicacy! For added color contrast, try dipping whole dried apricots as well as strawberries in chocolate.
- 16 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
- 2 tablespoons shortening
- 2-1/2 ounces white candy coating
- 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
- CHOCOLATE-DIPPED STRAWBERRIES:
- 24 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
- 5 teaspoons shortening
- 1-1/2 teaspoons almond extract
- 5 dozen large fresh strawberries (about 2-1/2 quarts)
- Line a 9-in. round baking pan with aluminum foil; set aside. In a heavy saucepan over low heat, melt chocolate and shortening; stir until smooth. Pour 3/4 cup into prepared pan; chill for 10 minutes or until firm. Spread a thin coating of the remaining melted chocolate around sides of pan (see photo 1); chill for 5 minutes. Continue coating until all of the melted chocolate has been used.
- Break white candy coating into chunks; place in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave at 70% power for 1 minute; stir. Microwave in 10 second intervals or until melted; stir until smooth. Add corn syrup; stir until mixture is thick. Pour onto waxed paper; press to 1/2-in. thickness. Let stand for 15-20 minutes or until easy to handle. Set aside 1 teaspoon for assembly.
- Divide remaining coating into six equal portions. Roll each into a 15-in. rope. Press three rope ends together; braid and press end to secure. Repeat with remaining ropes. Set aside both braids.
- For Chocolate-Dipped Berries: Melt chocolate and shortening in a microwave or heavy saucepan. Stir in almond extract. Dip strawberries halfway, allowing excess to drip off. Place on a waxed paper-lined tray; refrigerate for 30 minutes or until set.
- To assemble, carefully remove chocolate container from pan by slowly pulling up on foil lining (see photo 2). Peel foil to remove.
- Place small dabs of reserved white coating around top edge of container to secure the braids (see photo 3). Press one braid around half of container. Repeat with other braid; trim to fit if necessary. Cover and refrigerate until serving. Fill with chocolate-dipped berries. Yield: 1 chocolate container and about 2-1/2 dozen berries.
Originally published as Fruit-FIlled Chocolate Container in Country Woman Christmas Annual 2003, p51
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