Chocolate Port Cake

Hot Chocolate

Cream Cheese Pie

Chocolate-Raspberry Clusters

Sweet Spot


Chocolate-Raspberry Clusters

Tips:I love raspberries. I also love chocolate, and the two combined are my idea of a good time. These would make a great Valentine's Day gift, but be warned that both ingredients must be of the best quality! The berries must be firm and unbruised; pick them over well, discarding any that are soft or moldy. These must be stored in the fridge, and they don't keep well. Hmmm, I guess that means they must be eaten soon after they're made. Twist my arm! For a presentation, pile some of these gently on a doily on an elegant plate (use a tissue or paper towel to handle them), and place a single red rose to the side.

  • One half pint fresh red raspberries
  • 10 to 12 ozs. best-quality semisweet, milk, OR white chocolate, very finely chopped
Optional garnish: A bit of grated or melted chocolate of a contrasting color

Pick over the berries well, using only those that are firm and unbruised. DO NOT WASH THE BERRIES!! Weigh the berries; you should have 5 to 6 ozs. You'll need twice that weight in chocolate. Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil, shiny side up; set aside.

Place the finely chopped chocolate in a small heatproof bowl; set over hot water on low heat. Stir very frequently until about half-melted. Remove from heat and hot water. Dry bottom and sides of bowl. Continue to stir until chocolate is completely melted and very smooth. If the melted chocolate is thin, let cool slightly, stirring occasionally, until it thickens a bit (melting it only halfway, then stirring often until completely melted, should alleviate any problems here). Transfer chocolate to a custard cup or very small bowl.

Gently drop a raspberry into the melted chocolate. Using a teaspoon, gently and carefully cover all of the berry surfaces (including the inside) with chocolate. Pick up the berry with the spoon, and drop it onto the foil-covered sheet. You'll get a bit more chocolate on the berry from the spoon--OK. Repeat this procedure with the remaining berries. I drop the berries into clusters of three (two if they're large) because I feel it makes an attractive candy. If the chocolate forms a large puddle around the base of the dipped berries, it is too warm; let it cool more before proceeding (a small puddle around the base of the dipped berries is OK). To apply the optional garnish, do it now: sprinkle or drizzle a bit of the grated/melted contrasting-color chocolate on top of the dipped berry clusters, but keep the decorations minimal and dainty. Chill the berries until the chocolate is set.

Using a tissue or piece of paper towel, gently peel each berry cluster from the foil. Place in an airtight container with wax paper or plastic wrap between the layers. Store in refrigerator, but remember to remove from the fridge about 20 minutes before serving (it really does make a difference; the flavor is much fuller if these are eaten at room temperature). The moisture from the berries will begin to work out through the chocolate within a day, but these will keep for up to 2 or 3 days if you are not deterred by a somewhat messy appearance.

About 1 pound

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