• The Valentine holiday is notorious for chocolate. I mean the two are practically synonymous. Even though my husband and I traditionally don’t go out on Valentine’s day we do our best to spoil each other. One of my favorite ways is to make him a home made chocolate covered fruit. My favorite of course is the chocolate covered strawberry, but any and all fruit seems to taste darn good covered in chocolate.

    You do not have to be intimidated by chocolate covered fruits, they are unbelievably easy to make on your own, and they hardly take any prep work. And of course, do not forget that they are incredibly tasty. They could be considered half way healthy too, I mean eating the fiber in the fruit with the chocolate must be better than just eating the chocolate itself. At least, this is what I am going to continue to tell myself as I plan to make these for my husband this year.

    The first thing you want is to find good fruit. Something good and ripe. For strawberries I try to find some without any green. Bananas are best when the skins are bright yellow, without any brown. Bananas are indeed sweeter and more ripe when they begin to get brown streaks on their skins, but they become too soft at that point. Grapes are perfect when they are firm. You get the idea, fruit that is in season and ripe.

    Prep your fruit by giving it a good cleaning. For strawberries, remove the hulls if you desire. Or you can leave them on for a more gourmet look. I like to core and slice apples, then cut each slice in half to make them more of a one bite deal. Place tooth picks into your pieces of fruit so they are easier to dip into the chocolate later.

    Next paper dry your fruit. You want them to be nice and dry because water in the chocolate makes for a disaster. Okay, maybe not a full blown disaster, but it surely makes it harder to work with and could possibly make the chocolate seize up on you.

    Now onto the chocolate. You can actually purchase chocolate specifically made for you to dip fruit into. You microwave it in its little container then dip in your fruit when it is nice and melted. That is a perfectly acceptable option! However, for me, I like being able to tell my husband that I slaved in putting in the extra effort for him.

    You will need 16 ounces of good chocolate. Keep in mind that the better your chocolate, the better the chocolate covered anything will taste. You can use dark, milk, a combination, whatever you prefer.

    Using a double boiler is the most reliable way to melt chocolate. If you don’t have one, don’t worry you can rig one up pretty easily. Grab a pot half full or water and a glass bowl that fits into it. Turn on your stove to medium. Put your chocolate and two tablespoons of shortening into the glass bowl and stir while it melts.

    Once it is all melted you are ready to dip in your fruit. Each 16 ounce batch of chocolate will cover about one pound of fruit. Dip your fruit into the chocolate, turn to coat, then place onto some wax paper to cool and set. Don’t forget to remove your toothpicks. Repeat until you are out of fruit or chocolate.

    For extra fancy fruit, melt some white chocolate (no shortening needed here) and drizzle it on top of your fruit after they have been dipped. There you have it, chocolate dipped goodies. Don’t stop at fruit either. You can dip pretzels, chips, crackers and just about anything!