While I am immune to the meme going around, guilt-ing blog authors into revealing seven things about themselves on their blog, I do find myself wanting to share my little secret to success in life.
I am one hell of a cook. Let me explain.
Let us first form the basis of our little session, shall we?
Start with strawberries. Now, fresh ones are best but frozen will work because when we are done the mere strawberry will simply be a foundation to greater things. It is important that it is not dripping with water, and that it has a stem.
If you can get them, Washington strawberries are the best. Buy the organic ones. Strawberries are susceptible to chemical intrusion, as I will reveal shortly. A pound of these beauties will do.
Next, you will need dark chocolate, 70% to 90% pure cocoa. I use a snobby baker’s bar with French names I cannot pronounce. It is good. It is naughty, and it is just about to get naughtier. You will need sixteen ounces of this baker’s chocolate.
Now you need butter: salted butter. Why salted? You need to add salt to chocolate to bring out the bittersweet goodness. You can accomplish this with good butter. Three tablespoons will serve you well.
Not shortening. Not butter-substitute. Butter. From a cow. Soft butter at that.
Next, you will need a liqueur, Grand Marnier to be specific. A lot goes a long way. I suggest drinking some while cooking up your little slice of chocolate heaven. This is up to you.
You have your cast of characters, but now you need the tools of your trade to set the stage.
A saucier or double-broiler setup to melt the chocolate—If you are not experienced with melting chocolate, a double-broiler setup will work just fine. I use a stainless steel saucier, specifically designed to spread heat out, but then again, if I have been drinking the Grand Marnier, I get less punchy and simply heat water with a metal bowl floating on top of it.
You will need cookie sheets and standard wax kitchen paper.
Then, for the esoteric portion of this recipe of chocolate heaven, you need a syringe with a hypodermic needle. One will do, but you might as well buy a package of four or five.
You can get these at a pharmacy. Ask for syringes with a 21 gauge, 1 1/2 inch needle. Do not worry, they will not think you are a drug abuser, but they might think you are diabetic. If they do not carry that size, ask for something similar. These things are also orderable off the web.
Now we are ready to go for broke on the cooking! Time for prep: You will need paper covered cookie sheets, Grand Mariner in a shot glass, and a syringe.
Melt half the chocolate, a little bit of the time, in your double-broiler pan setup, and add two of the butter tablespoons.
Turn off the heat and let the liquid melt the rest of the chocolate. Heat, rather than accidental water, is usually the cause of chocolate freezing up. You can add cream to unfreeze chocolate and slowly melt it all again, but why bother? Chuck it and start over. This recipe, you see, must be perfect. The heat in the first half of the chocolate is more than enough to melt the second half of the chocolate.
Once melted, add the last of the butter and notice the chocolate as it takes on a dark, glossy color.
That means yum, by the way.
Quickly dip each strawberry into the dark chocolate love and put it on the wax paper. You can get fancy by using toothpicks and placing them upside-down on styrofoam, blah blah blah. We are not concerned with such things here.
You can simply leave the chocolate covered strawberries out to cool at room temperature. The chocolate purity and its melting point, coupled with the butter and lack of other liquids, will cause it to harden.
Once hardened, take the syringe, fill it with Grand Mariner, and inject a strawberry through the top near the steam. Do not put in so much that it squirts out the top, but do try to put in a good amount. In strawberries, there is a little cavity in their center. This is what you want filled with Grand Mariner goodness. It only takes two or three tries to get the hang of it.
Repeat as needed.
You can store these in Tupperware containers in a cool room. If you put them in the fridge, they may sweat and not look their best. Eat them on the same day.
This is where we come to the good part. These strawberries need no other decorations or fancy dribbling of white chocolate to form cutesy-pooh patterns. For this is a strawberry of bliss. The dark chocolate, the richness with the butter, the strawberry and the orange heady taste of the Grand Mariner all combine to give you a kiss. It is a chocolate kiss, a kiss from me to you; the sensual taste of it all in your mouth will make you close your eyes and think of a loved one as he or she kisses you. It is personal and intense; it is chocolate magic at its best.
Food may not be love, but sometimes it can be—naughty.