Thursday, March 28, 2013

Chunky Chocolate "Carrots"

Easter just happens to be on my Mother's (and my brother's) birthday this year, so I've been trying to decide what fun treat to bring over that is both fun for Easter and Birthdays. I also have to keep it Gluten free so I've been trying to find the perfect thing without having to go too fancy. Luckily we had a great submission come in and I think I've got a great idea now. Here it is:

The Original Pin
Carrot Strawberries! Aren't those fun? I think they're pretty cute. Our submitter, Cathy, says, "I came across a buy one package of strawberries, get one free at the store and thought I could make those chocolate covered strawberries that look like carrots from Pinterest - perfect timing for Easter.  Well it turns out, I can't." 

The Pinstrosity

 "I must say that I did not follow any instructions as I have melted chocolate in the past for chocolate dipped pretzels.  Anyway, I tried melting my first bag of white chocolate in my brand new double boiler.  It got way too hot way too fast and I ended up over-cooking the chocolate.  At this point I was determined to get it to the store for some more white chocolate.  So I decided with the second bag of chocolate I would keep the temp down quite a bit.  The chocolate started to clump and I thought "what do I have to lose now?"  So I dipped the strawberry but the chocolate just wasn't smooth enough so this [above] is how it turned out. On the GCT Fail Scale, I give it a 3...because it looks bad but didn't actually taste that bad (according to my husband)!  Lesson learned: buy more Han one bag of chocolate so I don't have to make several trips to the store!  Oh, and read the instructions!"

I have a few theories on this. Here we go. 

  1. The heat. Chocolate is finicky. It has to be melted just right or it is no longer smooth and creamy. If you don't have one of those awesome chocolate tempering machines (and alas, most of us do not), then you have to watch the chocolate to make sure you're not frying it. If you are using a double boiler, you want the heat on low. I know it seems like it would take forever, and it may, but you won't scorch your chocolate that way. You don't want the water in the lower portion to boil...that's way too hot. Many packages now give microwave instructions. I've had relative success with that. Just follow the instructions. I've sometimes even just used a pan on the stove and had the burner on as low as it would go. Stir your chocolate as it melts. 
  2. If chocolate gets water in it, it will seize (clump and get grainy). Always make sure all the utensils and bowls you are using are completely dry, and avoid wooden spoons. If you do end up with seized up chocolate, don't throw it away. says that even though it's not good for dipping anymore, save it for baking! 
  3. Cathy mentioned going and buying white chocolate, but she didn't say how she went about coloring her chocolate. With chocolate you have to use chocolate or candy coloring. DO NOT use just the normal generic food coloring. It will seize up your chocolate. Many places now carry the colored chocolate chips, so if you don't want to deal with coloring your chocolate on your own, see if you can find the pre-colored chips. They make things way easier for those of us who want fewer steps. 
So there are my thoughts and tips for this. Dipping chocolate can be tough, but it's so fun and exciting when it works out! Give it a try!


  1. I agree with everything you mentioned. Also as far as the moisture, Rinse you berries, drain them, Then pat them dry. The moisture can make your chocolate size as well as not let it stick to the fruit.

    Also a little oil or shortening will make it easier for dipping, And give it a little gloss. You could use cream and make a ganache instead if you wanted.

  2. Williams Sonoma carries candy coloring. It is fantastic!

  3. When using a double boiler, the top pot or pyrex dish or whatever you're using should not be touching the water in the bottom pot. Also, if it's too hot and you get steam, and then condensation in your chocolate, it will seize.

    You can add butter, shortening, or cooking oil to your chocolate to keep it smooth as stated above.

    Patience is key here, low temp and stir, stir, stir. Resist the urge to microwave it or turn the heat up to make it go faster.

  4. White chocolate is VERY finicky. I like melting it in the microwave, 30 seconds at a time. I take the bowl out and stir after each 30 second interval. It takes a while to get to the right point, but once it's a the right temp, you know! If it smells like popcorn, it's burned.

    1. I was going to say the same thing. and u cannot treat all white chocolate the same. it is best for white chocolate to be done in the microwave on low because then there is no chance of water getting in the bowl.

      also, for strawberries they need to be very dry. if u wash and pat then let sit at room temp until you don't see any condensation u should be good to go

  5. I did this pin last Easter using Wlton candy melts in orange and it turned out really cute. I do have the Wilton mini crock pot type chocolate melting thing which helps melt evenly. I agree with the advice -- probably too hot and don't use liquid coloring.

  6. I have always wondered how to color white chocolate! I knew not to use food coloring because of the water, but seeing as the only store in a 20 mile radius is a Wal-Mart, I had never found any other option! Thanks for the Williams Sonoma tip!

  7. White chocolate should not be melted at a higher temp then 110 F or else it will start to burn/clump. When you rinse the strawberries definitely pat them dry like mentioned above. We used normal food coloring when we dipped our strawberries or pineapple in white chocolate and it worked fine and didn't clump up the chocolate. Stir the chocolate with plastic spatulas, they work great.

    (Tips from an ex Edible Arrangements employee)

  8. I used to work at a bakery and white chocolate is Satan's candy. It will burn and clump in a split second, even on a low double boiler. It's finicky as anything. You have to be way more careful with it than with regular chocolate about heating.

    Plus, it tastes gross. Just skip it.

  9. for every bag of Wilton's Candy Melts, add 2 tablespoons Canola oil. Will give a shine and will not give a bad flavor. Dipped cake pops this weekend and they came out perfect!

  10. I'm the original pinner. The photo featured above is mine.

    I used white chocolate "almond bark" for nearly all of my dipping.

    I do mention you'll need specific candy coloring & perhaps a bit of shortening to thin it. White chocolate is notoriously thicker than chocolate itself. It is kind of a pain to work with for a lot of things, but for this is shouldn't be too hard.

    I melted my chocolate, as per usual, in the microwave.

    You can see more details in my post, but I hope this is helpful.

    Sorry for your pinstrosity, Cathy, but glad they were still tasty :)

  11. When I melt chocolate I use a double boiler method. I bring the water to a boil in the pot and turn off the heat. THEN I put the bowl of chocolate on top. I have never had an issue with burning/clumping chocolate this way.

  12. When I melt chocolate, whether it is white or any other color, I use the double boiler method. I went to school for Baking and Pastry Arts and we did a lot of work with melted chocolate. The way I learned to do it is to put the pot of water on the stove and bring it to a boil. Once it is boiling, I turn the heat OFF and THEN I put the bowl of chocolate on top of the pot. As the chocolate is melting, the water is cooling slightly (And you don't have to worry about keeping an eye on it and stirring it, because the water is cooling and will not continue to heat the chocolate). I have not once had an issue with burning or clumping chocolate with this method.

  13. Easiest way to melt chocolate for me is the microwave. Cut up the chocolate into small chunks, put in a microwave-safe glass bowl, and start cooking on a *medium* (or medium-low if you're uneasy) temperature - about half power. Do it for 20-30 second bursts, stir, repeat, and do it for shorter bursts as your chocolate starts melting more. Stop when you can stir the chocolate and it melts completely while stirring.

    And remember to dip it while it's still runny or you'll end up with a thick mess if the chocolate is too cool.

  14. sorry for the late response, but I just found your blog about a month ago, and I'm reading all of 2013's posts as I catch up :)
    I just wanted to share a tip I learned last May (2012) when I made bakerella's hellokitty cake pops for DD's bday. Apparently I had the frosting mix wrong, b/c even the pre-dipping the stick trick didn't keep the cake balls on the sticks! :P oh well. Here's the trick I learned. Once you've melted your chocolate coating (I usually use the microwave method on almond bark. short bursts and stirring), place your heatsafe chocolate filled container on a mug/candle warmer. Those things keep it at the right temperature: chocolate stays melted and dippable, and not overcooking. (and you can easily scrape down the sides as the chocolate level gets lower, and it will remelt in the melted chocolate...) It works on white and chocolate coatings.


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