Chocolate-dipped strawberries are so delicious and decadent, but you really shouldn't buy them because you can make them easily and inexpensively yourself. It's not hard, I promise, and you'll save yourself the $40 - $50 you would spend to buy them. I used to work at a place where we made gourmet dipped fruit, and imagine how amazed I was when I realized it was nothing more than semi-sweet chocolate chips and a little technique.
First, wash the berries thoroughly and let them dry completely before you dip them. If you get water droplets in the chocolate, it will ruin it, and if the berries are wet, they won't hold the chocolate properly. The best way to ensure that they are dry is to lay the berries out on a towel to air dry, but if you're impatient like me, you can roll them around on a towel until all the water is gone.
The chocolate is simply semi-sweet chocolate chips. Place about a cup of chips in a microwave-safe container. Heat for 30 seconds and stir, then heat for 15 seconds at a time, stir, and repeat until they are just barely melted. Stir until smooth. Do not overheat or you'll get lumpy chocolate.
You can stir in a tablespoon of shortening if you want - this is how some of the retail places do it to thin the chocolate and get a smoother, glossier finish. I prefer to give up a little of the aesthetics, however, for a better-tasting, more satisfying chocolate coating.
If you want to dip the berries in other toppings such as coconut and chopped nuts, put these in little bowls ahead of time.
Grab the strawberry by the green part and swirl it in the chocolate until all sides are coated. I like to leave a good part of the berry at the top uncoated. Tap off the extra chocolate and twirl the berry to finish off the little tail of chocolate.
Dip the berry in the coconut or nuts if you are going to do this step.
Set the berry on waxed paper on a cookie sheet to set. It takes about an hour until they are set and ready to move.
I like to add a white chocolate stripe on some of the berries. Put a small amount of white chocolate chips in a baggie and microwave for 15 seconds, take it out and squish it around, and repeat until the chips are just melted. Cut one corner off the bag and squeeze out to make the stripes.
I made a fairly thick stripe on these berries, but you can go thinner by cutting the corner smaller.
That's it! Super impressive, and no one needs to know how easy it was.