Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Chocolate Covered Treats

Our family just got back this weekend from New York City.  I promise to do a post about our adventure, but I must wait for Jay to get back from a business trip.  He has the camera with most of the pictures :)

For now, I will do a post about chocolate covered treats.  Did you know December 16th is chocolate covered anything day???? I didn't, not until Jay told me about it.  I figured a post about chocolate would be appropriate.  Today I did chocolate covered pretzels, cranberries, and marshmallows, which will be small food gifts this holiday season.

There really isn't a set recipe for this, but more of a process or technique.  First you need some food items that hold up well to dipping.  In the past I have dipped the following:

Next, get yourself good chocolate.  When I am visiting Buffalo, I buy a 10 lb bag of Merkens and keep them in the freezer to use all year.  You can also use a nice quality chocolate block or bar in the candy aisle.  I have used chocolate chips in a pinch.  Just make sure the chocolate is not waxy.

Prepare cookie sheets lined with wax paper to place dipped items on to dry. 

Then put a heat safe bowl over a pot of simmering water.  Add your chocolate to the bowl, and slowly allow the chocolate to melt.  Stir occasionally until you have a smooth bowl of chocolate. (Don't let the water boil, or you can burn the chocolate.)

Remove the bowl from the heat.  Now you are ready to dip.  I work in small batches.  For example, add a few handfuls of pretzels and fold them into the chocolate until coated.  Using a fork remove from the chocolate and lay on cookies sheets.  Sprinkle with candies to decorate.  Allow to cool and harden.  I stick them in my Florida room, but you can put them in the fridge. 

Once they are dry, bag them in cute cellophane bags or put them in tins.  These can be stored in an airtight container for several weeks.

For dipping nuts, raisins, or cranberries, line mini muffin tins with cupcake wrappers.  Then spoon the covered nuts or fruits into the paper.  Allow to harden and pop out of tin.  These make perfect clusters.

Any chocolate covered item makes a great addition to your holiday platters.  These even make great little desserts after a heavy calorie laden meal.  Happy Chocolate Covered Anything Day!!!!

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