Chef's Quick Tip: Chocolate covered strawberries

This week, Executive Pastry Chef Jamie Caudy shows Tina Redwine how to make some sweet treats.  
Chocolate covered strawberries
Steps to tempering chocolate for the perfect chocolate covered strawberries:
Tempering involves slowly raising and lowering the temperature of melted chocolate while constantly stirring. This process causes the structure of the large cocoa-butter crystals in the chocolate to repeatedly break and then reform. When the chocolate is finally allowed to set again, the crystals of cocoa butter join in perfect chains, creating an extremely smooth, shiny chocolate that has a clean snap when broken.
  • Use a thermometer.
  • Make sure that bowls, thermometer, spatula, stone, etc. are 100% dry before touching your chocolate.
  • Room temperature should be between 65-70° F & humidity level below 50%.
Chocolate Tempering Temperatures – I recommend Valrhona Chocolate  
Melting Temperature:
Dark Chocolate -131-136° F
Milk Chocolate - 113-118° F
White Chocolate – 113-118° F
Crystallization Temperature:
Dark Chocolate - 82-84° F
Milk Chocolate - 81-82° F
White Chocolate - 79-81° F
Working Temperatures:  
Dark Chocolate - 88-90° F
Milk Chocolate - 84-86° F
White Chocolate - 82-84° F
Melting over a Double Boiler:
  • If you don’t own a double boiler, you can create your own by situating a stainless steel or glass bowl on top of a sauce pan or small pot. Or you can use our double boiler insert.
  • Heat water in bottom pan to 130-150° F (do not boil). Turn off heat.
  • Place chocolate into top bowl or double boiler insert and set over the pan of water. Be sure that the bowl fits tightly over the water so that no steam or water vapor escapes from the bottom pan/pot.
  • Stir frequently with rubber spatula.
  • Once the chocolate is completely melted, use a chocolate thermometer to measure the temperature. Heat to: 131-136°F (Dark Chocolate) 113-118°F (Milk Chocolate) 113-118°F (White Chocolate)
Microwave Melting Method (based on a 600 watt microwave):
  • Place one pound of chocolate in a microwave safe container.
  • Microwave for one minute at 50% power.
  • Stir with rubber spatula.
  • Return to microwave for 15 to 30 second intervals until ¾ melted (stir with rubber spatula in between every interval).
  • Stir with spatula until fully melted.
STEP 2: Double check the temperature of the chocolate:
110°F (White Chocolate) 115°F (Milk Chocolate) 120°F (Dark Chocolate)
Step 1: Finely chop about ¼ the amount of chocolate and reserve – this will later be used in the “seeding process”
Step 2: Melt Chocolate with desired melting method and remove from heat.  Heat to: 131-136°F (Dark Chocolate) 113-118°F (Milk Chocolate) 113-118°F (White Chocolate) Using a clean, dry rubber spatula, stir the chocolate gently, until smooth. Be careful not to create air bubbles as you do.
Step 3: Stir in fine chopped chocolate until fully melted in – doing this will speed up the cooling process.
Step 4: Agitate chocolate with a rubber spatula without incorporating air bubbles until you have reached the “crystallization temperature” - Dark Chocolate - 82-84° F, Milk Chocolate 81-82° F, and White Chocolate - 79-81° F
Step 5: Using the same method of melting, either over a hot water bath of in the microwave; carefully heat chocolate to the “working temperature” – this will be quick – only heat for a few seconds using either method, stir and check the temperature with a thermometer. Once you have reached the working temperature - Dark Chocolate - 88-90° F, Milk Chocolate - 84-86° F, or White Chocolate - 82-84° F – your chocolate is ready to use!
Step 6: As you work with the chocolate, regularly stir the chocolate and check its temperature to keep it “in temper”.
Step 7: Dip clean dry strawberries holding the stems for the strawberry (a skewer or toothpick can be inserted into the top of the strawberry for easier dipping). Submerge strawberries just before the stems.  Pull out carefully and hold over chocolate to allow excess chocolate to drip off. Scrap the bottom of the strawberry along the side of the bowl and place on parchment paper to set.  Add desired sprinkles or décor immediately after dipping before the chocolate cools.
 Fun unique décor and sprinkles can be found and ordered from Ifigourmet Provisions
Additional Notes:
  • TIP: If you have a heating pad, turn on and cover with a towel. Set your bowl of melted chocolate on top of the towel to keep your chocolate in its ideal melted state for longer.
  • The temperature of your chocolate is very important. If the chocolate gets too hot the chocolate will become thick or even burn. Proper consistency is important for easy working. The chocolate should pour off the spoon easy and not come off in a clump. If chocolate becomes too thick and clumps, the temperature is either higher than the melting temperature or lower than the working temperature.
  • Never refrigerate chocolate – chocolate becomes sweaty once it is refrigerated. It also loses its shine.
  • If chocolate is not tempered properly it will cool and “bloom” – which is a whitish coating that can appear on the surface of  There are two types of bloom: fat bloom, caused by changes in the fat crystals in the chocolate; and sugar bloom, due to crystals formed by the action of moisture on the sugar.
Hot Chocolate 
543g                Whole Milk
42g                  Water
62g                  Sugar
90g                 Heavy Cream
1ea                  Cinnamon Sticks
¼ ea               Vanilla Bean
¼ tsp              Salt
34g                  Cocoa Powder
53g                  66% Valhrona Chocolate or a high quality dark chocolate
32g                  Caramelia Chocolate or a high quality milk chocolate 
  1. Add cocoa powder, dark chocolate and caramelized milk chocolate to a bowl and reserve.
  2. In a small sauce pat, bring milk, water, sugar, heavy cream, cinnamon stick, vanilla bean, and salt to a boil.
  3. Pour roughly half of the boiled cream mixture over the cocoa chocolate mixture an allow to melt chocolate for approximately one minute.
  4. Whisk the chocolate and cream together until smooth and all the chocolate has melted.  More hot cream may be needed to melt the chocolate.
  5. Whisk in remaining cream mixture
  6. Remove vanilla bean and cinnamon stick
  7. Serve hot, with choice toppings; such as whipped cream, marshmallows, candy cane pieces, sprinkles, or whatever your heart desires!  I prefer a scoop of ganache in mine!
Jamie caudy | Executive Pastry Chef
Mayflower Inn & Spa