Handcrafted sweet treats are in hot demand. Chocolate dipping is a craft, one I have practiced over the years but I was hesitant to build my own strawberry tree. I put it off as long as I could… then I decided it was time to jump in. If you have the time and can give attention to those tiny details … you can do this too! They are great for gifts or parties and sure to always be a show stopper.
Wilton Chocolate Melting System or Double Boiler
6 packs dark Ghirardelli Chocolate Melting Chips
4 packs white Ghirardelli white chocolate chips
150 strawberries, cleaned and dried completely
18 inch foam cone
12 inch cake board, covered in colored foil
Melt dark and white chocolate in double boiler or Wilton’s melting pot.
With a pastry brush, paint the foam cone with dark chocolate.
Paint the center of the cake board with chocolate and place cone in the middle. Refrigerate cone until chocolate hardens.
While cone is setting begin dipping strawberries. This is where your creative side kicks in. Dip and design each strawberry to your preference and theme. The chosen strawberries will make or break this creation. They have to be ripe but not overly ripe or they will not hold to the tree. As you get strawberries dipped chill them. They must be chilled before you do any designs with another chocolate. If you are using sprinkles the chocolate has to slightly set but still be wet enough to hold the sprinkle.
Once the strawberries are chilled you can use melted chocolate in a bottle to draw designs. Then chill to set.
It is time to begin placing the strawberries on the tree. This is where practice makes perfect. Don’t be scared like I was!
Place the larger strawberries around the bottom of the tree. As you move to the top get smaller with the berries.
To start the lay out of the tree place the dipped strawberries around the board to see which ones fit best. Once you determine the size you can begin placing the toothpicks in the tree. Angle them up slightly and push them far enough in so they go to about through the middle of the berry. Continue until the tree is full!
If you are transporting the tree do not place the top berries until you arrive. These are generally the ones that fall off when transporting. With smaller berries a 17 inch tree will hold about 150 berries. Having extra berries are great for garnishing your dessert table and to place around the bottom of the board.
You can decorate the tree with edible flowers, raspberries, blueberries, candies, whatever best fits the theme of your event.
This was a great project and it’s most important to let your personality shine in your design. Practice with coloring the white chocolate, use smaller cones, maybe a topiary with a round foam ball. Theme your tree to the theme of your event. A large strawberry tree can take 3 – 4 hours, depending on the design you choose.
A tree will only hold for about 4 hours, so timing is essential. If you do it too early it will begin to sweat and the strawberries will weep onto the board. Relax, enjoy and let your imagination do its thing!