Baboon Pirates

Scribbles and Scrawls from an unrepentant swashbuckling primate.

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Location: Texas, United States

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Feeding Your Addictions

I was sending this to a few co-workers since they liked it so much, and I might as well share it with a wider audience while I'm at it!

Chocolate Covered Cranberries

Ingredients -
Fresh cranberries
Chocolate, either chips or bars.
Shortening ( I use Crisco, but any solid should be OK.)

Equipment -
Cookie sheets
Wax Paper
Microwave-safe bowls or double boiler
Teaspoon (Long handled) for stirring or dipping

Start by washing and drying the cranberries, and picking out the ones with soft spots and those that are small, damaged, or discolored. Pour them out onto a few paper towels set in a pan to dry. Be careful! Cranberries are VERY bouncy, and you'll chase them all over the kitchen if you pour them onto a flat countertop.

While the cranberries are drying, melt your chocolate in a double boiler or a microwave. I use one 8 oz. bag of chocolate chips for every 12 oz. bag of cranberries, but using a little extra makes the dipping process easier, and you get to enjoy the leftovers afterwards! I've tried both dark chocolate and milk chocolate, and found that the sweeter milk chocolate goes better with the tart berries than the more bitter dark chocolate.

Place chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl, and add one heaping teaspoon of Crisco for every 8 oz. of chocolate. This will give the chocolate a smoother texture, and make it easier for the chocolate to flow over the berries.

When you microwave the chocolate chips, they will not melt smooth like in a double boiler. They will hold their chip shapes until you stir them up. To avoid burning the chocolate, I set the timer for one minute, then stir. Then I set it for 15 seconds, stir, and repeat until the chocolate melt is smooth and glossy.

Have wax paper spread over your cookie sheets, then start dipping the berries into the chocolate. I'm pretty handy with chopsticks, and that worked for me, but you might use a small set of tongs or even a teaspoon to pull the berries out of the melted chocolate. I usually put a handful of berries in, stir until they're well coated, then remove one at a time and place on the wax paper. Try to keep them spaced apart if you can, otherwise they stick to each other, and you break off the coating when you pull them apart.

Chill the coated berries for an hour or so in the fridge, then melt your white chocolate. Definitely add the Crisco here, increasing the amount to one and a half teaspoons. You want to make a thinner mix for the striping.

Dip your long-handled teaspoon into the white chocolate, and very quickly shake it back & forth in a sideways motion over the berries. The object is to get thin streamers of melted white chocolate to splash over the dark chocolate-covered berries. If you keep your shaking controlled, you can cover a couple of dozen berries with each spoonful, and not cover your kitchen with chocolate. You might get the random splotch of a big chocolate spill every so often on a berry, but you can sample those for "Quality Control".

Put the berries back in the fridge overnight to set firm, then peel off the wax paper and store in airtight containers until eaten. Each 12 oz bag makes enough to feed 8-12 people.

I suppose you could get fancy and mix in crushed pecans or walnuts in the melted chocolate, or use the nuts for a topping instead of the white chocolate.