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Kitchen Hack: 7-Minute Chocolate Covered Strawberries

Kitchen Hack: 7-Minute Chocolate Covered Strawberries

    Nothing says ‘good riddance’ to the winter blues like the first crop of springtime strawberries. One of the first harvests of the year, strawberries are rich in antioxidants, potassium and vitamin C.

    Their sweet tart flavor, heart shape and brilliant red color lend themselves to being a favorite ingredient in some very complex desserts.

    Just because something tastes complex, however, doesn’t mean it has to be difficult to make.

    The French have a phrase, mise en place, which means “putting everything in its place”. The secret to quick, when making any recipe,  is to simply prepare and organize the ingredients and hardware before you begin.

    With everything ready at your fingertips, this variation on the classic chocolate-covered strawberry “Bananaberries” can be made in a mere seven minutes.

    (Note: By reading labels and choosing appropriate brands, this dessert can be made gluten-free.)

    Bananaberries

      This dessert was invented when my friend’s birthday snuck up on me and I didn’t want to visit her empty-handed. I had some organic strawberries in my fridge. In my pantry, I had a bag of banana chips purchased for yogurt sundae topping. When my eyes met some nearby white chocolate chips, the idea for Bananaberries was born.

      Everyone makes chocolate-dipped strawberries, but combination of crunchy banana fused to the juicy raw fruit with white chocolate takes this classic dessert to a new level of flavor goodness. My friend loved them and begged me for the recipe. I gave it to her. It was her birthday, after all!

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      Now, before you even think about making this recipe, be sure that can procure two pints of fresh strawberries. Because you’ll be serving them fresh, you really want use perfect berries.  Look for ones that have a crown of vibrant green leaves, are firm to the touch, plump to the eye, and do not have any blemishes or unripe spots.

      Got your berries? You may proceed.

      Editor’s Note: I’m not a huge fan of bananas so I swapped out the banana chips for pecans. Chocolate can be melted quickly if you give it your full attention and hardens faster on cold strawberries. Sarah’s closing remark about giving the strawberries away…ha! I didn’t share any of mine. =)

      Ingredients:

      • Two pints fresh strawberries, cleaned with a damp cloth and chilled
      • One 12 oz bag white chocolate chips
      • One 12 oz bag of dried, sweetened banana chips

      Hardware:

      • soft towel
      • saucepan
      • stirring utensil
      • 3 bowls
      • parchment paper
      • cookie sheet
      • chopper, food processor or blender
      • stovetop

      1. Put Everything in Place

        Dump chocolate chips into the sauce pan. Put the banana chips in the blender. Place your three bowls in assembly line order : strawberries, white chocolate (empty), and chopped banana chips (empty).  Set your cookie sheet after the banana chip bowl and cover it with a sheet of parchment paper.

        2. Make Some Crumbs


          Chop dried banana chips into a coarse yet crumb-like consistency. You want texture, not powder. Transfer the crumbs to the third bowl on the assembly line.

          3. Melt the Chocolate

            Over the lowest possible heat, melt the white chocolate chips in the saucepan. Low heat and constant stirring is key. If the chocolate boils, it will become a pasty burnt sugar mess. It may seem easier to just microwave the chips, but it is also very easy to overcook them with this method.

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              As you stir, the chocolate will become glossy, and then melt. It will only take about 2 minutes. You will know when it’s done when the mixture is just about completely melted, but there are a few chunks of soft chips remaining. Remove from the heat. Pour the melted chocolate into the second bowl on the assembly line for dipping. Stir the chocolate in the bowl until the remaining chips melt completely.

              4. Dip and Roll

                Hold the berry by the leaves and dip into the melted white chocolate.

                  Then, gently roll the berry in the banana chip crumbs. Do not press too hard, or the chocolate will not adhere as well to the strawberry, and it will break off at the first bite. Merely coat the chocolate with the banana chip crumbs. Leave a hint of white chocolate collar showing for appearance.

                  5. Air Dry


                    Place the berries on parchment-covered cookie sheet. Because the berries are pre-chilled, the chocolate should firm up quickly without having to be further refrigerated.  The parchment will keep the cookie sheet from getting dirty, which means less clean-up, and will keep the Bananaberries from sticking while they dry.

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                    6. Pair for Enjoyment

                    Assuming you’ve used perfect strawberries, they will keep in a covered box in the refrigerator for a day. Bananaberries pair well with espresso or strongly brewed coffee as the bitter, warm drink contrasts and showcases this cool, heavenly dessert.

                    7. Share with Friends

                    An easy-to-serve finger food, Bananaberries make an ideal dessert to bring to picnics, and potlucks, and parties. As long as they are kept out of the sun, the crunchy banana chip shell stays intact while being transported.

                    To give as a memorable gift, simply re-use the parchment paper as a wrapper, and nestle the wrapped Bananaberries into a brown paper sandwich bag with a penned thank-you note for a homemade, heartfelt presentation.

                    What do you think? Will you give it a try? Please let me know if you do!


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                    Kitchen Hack: 7-Minute Chocolate Covered Strawberries

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                    Last Updated on September 20, 2018

                    How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

                    How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

                    Being in a hurry all the time drains your energy. Your work and routine life make you feel overwhelmed. Getting caught up in things beyond your control stresses you out…

                    If you’d like to stay calm and cool in stressful situations, put the following 8 steps into practice:

                    1. Breathe

                    The next time you’re faced with a stressful situation that makes you want to hurry, stop what you’re doing for one minute and perform the following steps:

                    • Take five deep breaths in and out (your belly should come forward with each inhale).
                    • Imagine all that stress leaving your body with each exhale.
                    • Smile. Fake it if you have to. It’s pretty hard to stay grumpy with a goofy grin on your face.

                    Feel free to repeat the above steps every few hours at work or home if you need to.

                    2. Loosen up

                    After your breathing session, perform a quick body scan to identify any areas that are tight or tense. Clenched jaw? Rounded shoulders? Anything else that isn’t at ease?

                    Gently touch or massage any of your body parts that are under tension to encourage total relaxation. It might help to imagine you’re in a place that calms you: a beach, hot tub, or nature trail, for example.

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                    3. Chew slowly

                    Slow down at the dinner table if you want to learn to be patient and lose weight. Shoveling your food down as fast as you can is a surefire way to eat more than you need to (and find yourself with a bellyache).

                    Be a mindful eater who pays attention to the taste, texture, and aroma of every dish. Chew slowly while you try to guess all of the ingredients that were used to prepare your dish.

                    Chewing slowly will also reduce those dreadful late-night cravings that sneak up on you after work.

                    4. Let go

                    Cliche as it sounds, it’s very effective.

                    The thing that seems like the end of the world right now?

                    It’s not. Promise.

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                    Stressing and worrying about the situation you’re in won’t do any good because you’re already in it, so just let it go.

                    Letting go isn’t easy, so here’s a guide to help you:

                    21 Things To Do When You Find It Hard To Let Go

                    5. Enjoy the journey

                    Focusing on the end result can quickly become exhausting. Chasing a bold, audacious goal that’s going to require a lot of time and patience? Split it into several mini-goals so you’ll have several causes for celebration.

                    Stop focusing on the negative thoughts. Giving yourself consistent positive feedback will help you grow patience, stay encouraged, and find more joy in the process of achieving your goals.

                    6. Look at the big picture

                    The next time you find your stress level skyrocketing, take a deep breath, and ask yourself:

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                    Will this matter to me…

                    • Next week?
                    • Next month?
                    • Next year?
                    • In 10 years?

                    Hint: No, it won’t.

                    I bet most of the stuff that stresses you wouldn’t matter the next week, maybe not even the next day.

                    Stop agonizing over things you can’t control because you’re only hurting yourself.

                    7. Stop demanding perfection of yourself

                    You’re not perfect and that’s okay. Show me a person who claims to be perfect and I’ll show you a dirty liar.

                    Demanding perfection of yourself (or anybody else) will only stress you out because it just isn’t possible.

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                    8. Practice patience every day

                    Below are a few easy ways you can practice patience every day, increasing your ability to remain calm and cool in times of stress:

                    • The next time you go to the grocery store, get in the longest line.
                    • Instead of going through the drive-thru at your bank, go inside.
                    • Take a long walk through a secluded park or trail.

                    Final thoughts

                    Staying calm in stressful situations is possible, all you need is some daily practice.

                    Taking deep breaths and eat mindfully are some simple ways to train your brain to be more patient. But changing the way you think of a situation and staying positive are most important in keeping cool whenever you feel overwhelmed and stressful.

                    Featured photo credit: Brooke Cagle via unsplash.com

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