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Prepping Chocolate For Chocolate Covered Strawberries

(Editor's Note: How do you prep chocolate for chocolate covered strawberries? We asked Gayle for some inside tips on how to make chocolate covered strawberries shine.)

QuestionHow do you prep chocolate for chocolate covered strawberries?

Gayle: It's all about temperature. If you melt your chocolate at too high a temperature, your chocolate covered strawberries won't shine, they'll look streaky and white.

QuestionOk, so what's the best temperature for melting chocolate?

Gayle: You can't go over 100 degrees Fahrenheit.

QuestionWhy not?

Gayle: If you overheat, the fat crystals rise to the top and make the chocolate a streaky, whitish color.

QuestionFat crystals?

Gayle: As I mentioned when we talked about what real chocolate, cocoa butter causes chocolate to melt at lower temperatures. Cocoa butter is an unstable fat made up of crystals. As you melt your chocolate, you also have to make sure you're constantly stirring it.

Question: Why?

Gayle: When you're stirring the chocolate, you're equally distributing the fat crystals and preventing them from rising to the top. Again, if they rise to the top, the chocolate gets that streaky, white color.

Question: Any other tips?

Gayle: Yes. I don't melt all the chocolate at once. I save some chocolate and chop it up into small pieces. I then combine the solid, chopped chocolate with the melted chocolate. This also helps temper the chocolate and prevents the crystals from the rising to the surface.

Question: Wow, it sounds like there is a lot of attention to detail involved.

Gayle: Correct. You MUST keep an eye on the temperature and you NEED to be stirring constantly in order to make sure you're tempering chocolate for chocolate covered strawberries the right way.

Question: Anything else?

Gayle: If you use compound chocolate, it's less work. You don't have to worry about the crystals rising to the top.

Question: Why not just use compound chocolate?

Gayle: Less Flavor! Using real chocolate makes a difference when it comes to the taste.

Chocolate For Chocolate Covered Strawberries

(Editor's postscript: After chatting with Gayle, we found some other helpful tips on prepping chocolate for chocolate covered strawberries. Good luck!)