Fresh, Sweet, and Romantic
A Romantic Idea
While browsing the selection of Valentine's Day gourmet gift baskets on Amazon, I found this one with strawberries and two dipping sauces in a little wooden crate for around $50. True, FTD guarantees their arrangements (which are gorgeous), I thought I could come up with my own version.
I already use Enjoy Life Semi-Sweet Chocolate Mini Chocolate Chips for chocolate sauce (since it's as allergen-free as it gets). The only ingredients in their chocolate chips are: evaporated cane juice, natural (non-alcoholic) chocolate liquor, and non-dairy cocoa butter.
And for years I've been making homemade caramel sauce using evaporated milk (which has far less milk fat than heavy cream used in most recipes).
I love using strawberries whenever I can to create little hearts (they are so much healthier than candies which often contain unhealthy red dyes). You probably have a little basket and jam jars at home.
Only Takes 15 Minutes
- 1 pint fresh strawberries (with stems)
- 1 pkg. (10 oz) Enjoy Life Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
- 1 cup brown sugar (light preferably)
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) salted butter
- 1/4 cup Carnation evaporated milk
- 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
- Select 12 - 20 of the best looking strawberries you can from your pint. (One pint can hold about 12 big strawberries). Wash and gently blot them dry.
- In a microwave-safe bowl, heat Enjoy Life chocolate chips on high heat for 30 seconds, stir, and put back for another 20 - 30 seconds (repeat until melted). Set aside to cool.
- In a small saucepan (over medium heat), combine butter and brown sugar and stir until smooth. Slowly add evaporated milk and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and add vanilla. Continue to stir until desired consistency (about 5 - 7 minutes). Set aside to cool.
- Grab your decorative vegetable crate or bamboo basket and line it with recyclable crinkled paper. Arrange dried strawberries in rows (as shown at top) or any way you like. Once sauces have cooled sufficiently, pour 4 oz. of each into jam jars.
No Time to Make It?
For this romantic treat basket, they use giant long-stemmed strawberries (yeah, there IS such a thing). And the chocolate sauce is top-quality (made by Fudge Fatale). It is also gluten-free, soy-free, and preservative-free.