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ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

Is there a trick to keeping chocolate dipped fruit looking pretty?

Asked by ANef_is_Enuf (23298 points ) October 24th, 2011

This past weekend I made a dessert tray for a little gathering, and it included chocolate dipped strawberries and caramel apples. They were beautiful when I dipped them, but by the time we got to the party the chocolate and strawberries were looking wet and yucky. They still tasted good, which is ultimately what matters, but I hate that they looked so ugly. I understand why they sweat, but I’m curious to know if there is a trick out there for keeping them looking lovely until they get eaten.

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24 Answers

chyna's avatar

I add a tablespoon of crisco when melting my chocolate for peanut butter balls to keep the chocolate held together. I don’t know if this would work on fruit also, but you could try it.

Aethelflaed's avatar

I think you use a special chocolate that dries really fast after dipping. But isn’t someone on here a chocolatier?

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

@chyna the chocolate holds together just fine, in fact, everything about them is fine, and the chocolate solidifies fine, as well. The problem is that the fruit sweats, and then it makes the chocolate and the fruit look all wet.

bkcunningham's avatar

@ANef_is_Enuf, after you washed the fruit, how long did you let it set before you dipped?

Also, what did you do with the dipped fruit immediately after dipping?

I think two keys things with chocolate dipped fruit is to make sure it is completey dry before dipping. At the very least, one-half hour. Let the dipped fruit cool, uncovered, in the fridge for just a few minutes or in the air.

Don’t cover it right after dipping. When you are ready to transport the dipped fruit, I always put a layer of baking soda under my fruit plate before putting it in a covered container.

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

@bkcunningham It was a while, actually, because I washed them and then came back for them later.. since someone pulled in my driveway while I was in the process. I actually let them cool on the counter, and then transferred into a covered container to be put in the fridge.
What do you mean with the baking soda? Not touching the fruit itself, I assume, but under the wax paper or foil.. or whatever?

dappled_leaves's avatar

As chyna describes, tempering the chocolate will keep it looking glossy and keep it from being all melty at room temperature, but I don’t think there’s anything you can do to the chocolate to prevent condensation. Try leaving the fruit at room temperature before dipping, then don’t refrigerate afterward. Presumably, you’re not making this too far in advance of serving, and as a bonus, the flavours will be stronger if you don’t refrigerate.

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

@dappled_leaves I thought the same, actually. That was the only solution I could imagine. Making them in a time frame that eliminated any refrigeration period.
I’m not having a problem with the chocolate, just the fruit itself sweating. I just thought there might be a trick (something like @bkcunningham‘s baking soda thing) that I hadn’t heard of.

dappled_leaves's avatar

I’m intrigued by the baking soda idea, too – I would love to try an experiment, adding it to one plate and not the other, to see if there’s a difference. If you do it, please let us know how it turns out!

bkcunningham's avatar

Yes, under waxed paper. Not touching the fruit. The problem is covering the fruit after it is dipped before it is dried and completely cool. Leave it out or, if you put it in the fridge, put it in for just a few minutes UNcovered.

bkcunningham's avatar

We are going to a Halloween party Sunday and in addition to my other potluck, I may just dip some fruit. That sounds sooo good. Yum.

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

@bkcunningham the strawberries and apples were a huge hit. I was surprised to see all of the kids passing on the cookies for the dipped fruit.

bkcunningham's avatar

I have a fondue pot someone got me for Christmas one year. It is shaped like a large Hershey Kiss. I love to dip fruit in there; especially pineapples and bananas.

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

Oh, I’ve always wanted one of those. That must be really nice for little parties or family gatherings.

bkcunningham's avatar

It is so cute. The lid is made to look like it has the paper coming out of the top of the Hershey Kiss with the word, “Kiss” on the little streamer. You put a tea candle underneath and melt your chocolate. Then dip to your heart’s desire.

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

@bkcunningham that is adorable.

everephebe's avatar

Ok, so I’m not 100% sure I am remembering this right from culinary school but I feel like hairspray is one of the ways they preserve chocolate covered fruit in the industry for decorative purposes only. Don’t quote me on that.

The only real fool-proof trick I know is eating and making more, which isn’t really much of a trick. :D

Tempering the chocolate properly would definitely help and it’s likely that some simple syrup would boost the life of the fruit in well applied coats.
Plus it will look all glossy and pretty if you do it right.

Keeping the temperature static at a cool and dry level also major fruit and chocolate life boosting, if you can manage that.

I’m sure there is also a sneaky way to freeze em and get away with it too. Don’t quote me on that either. :D

gailcalled's avatar

@ANef_is_Enuf: If I were dipped in chocolate, I’d sweat too.

everephebe's avatar

^Sounds dirty.

gailcalled's avatar

No. Just sticky.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@ANef_is_Enuf Make sure your fruit is at room temperature before you put the chocolate on it. It was probably cold, so you got condensation.

thorninmud's avatar

There are two possible sources of the wetness. One is condensation on the outside of the chocolate, caused by keeping the dipped berries in the fridge, then exposing them to room air while they’re still cold. The tiny beads of water leach sugar out of the chocolate and form a syrup on the surface that never quite dries. The chocolate is then permanently dappled with shiny, sticky syrup.

The key to avoiding condensation is to not allow warm room air to come in contact with the cold chocolate. One solution is not to refrigerate them at all. If the chocolate is tempered, there will be no need for cold to get it to set. And if they’re to be eaten within a couple of hours, the berries should be fine at room temp. But if you do need to refrigerate them, put them in an open food storage container, stick them in the fridge to get cold, then quickly reach in and snap the cover on the container. Now here’s the important part: do not open that container while the berries are still cold. Leave the container out at room temp for at least an hour before opening it. When you finally do expose them to the warm air, the surfaces shouldn’t be cold enough to provoke condensation.

The second source of moisture is more problematic. The sugar in the chocolate draws juice out of the berries themselves. This collects between the berry and the coating, and will eventually leak out as a pink syrup. There really isn’t anything you can do about this other than eat the berries before the syrup gets to the leaking stage.

thorninmud's avatar

One more thought about the second issue (juice being drawn out of the berries):

The leakage will be postponed if the coating shell is kept intact, with no cracks or openings. But dipped strawberries often have a thin spot in the coating where the berry was placed on the waxed paper and pushed through the chocolate. This becomes a prime site for leakage. That bald spot can be avoided by using your finger to deposit several flat dabs of chocolate onto the waxed paper before dipping the berries, and letting them dry. Dip the berries and set them on the dabs. The dabs will just get incorporated into the coating chocolate, but they’ll ensure that you don’t have a bald spot in that area.

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

@thorninmud if you’re not the resident chocolatier, I suspect you should be. ;) Thanks so very much for the excellent advice.

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