A Bite Inspired by… Valentine’s Day 2017:
Valentine’s Day makes me think of love, flowers, and, of course, chocolate! I love chocolate covered strawberries, but always have to give my recipes a bit of a twist. These gorgeous Chai Chocolate Covered Strawberries are even more seductive with the deep, rich flavors of black tea, ginger, and cardamom. The perfect Valentine’s Day treat for you and anyone you choose to share them with!
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So, I really don’t know how I feel about Valentine’s Day. On one hand, what’s not to love about a day that’s all about… well, love! Not to mention, the candy, flowers, cards, gifts, and nice dinners. Those are all definite perks, as well. On the other hand, I’ve had some pretty awkward Valentine’s Days in my time. Not bad, necessarily. Just kind of… well, unusual. I’m not really doing a great job of explaining this, so I’ll just give you some examples. Here are my top 3 most random, unusual Valentine’s Day experiences for your reading pleasure:
- When I was in high school, my first “real” boyfriend took me out on a surprise Valentine’s Day date. I assumed that he would be taking me out to dinner or something like that, so I decided to wear a nice dress and heels. BIGGEST. MISTAKE. EVER. His romantic surprise was to take me bowling for Valentine’s Day. Now, don’t get me wrong, it was a sweet, albeit unusual, idea. I have nothing against bowling, but I just wish he had TOLD me that we were going bowling, so I could have dressed accordingly. Have you ever tried bowling in a tight, strapless dress wearing gross rented bowling shoes with no socks on? Well, I have and it definitely wasn’t the BEST thing I’ve ever done, but there was something sort of fun and interesting about the whole thing (you heard me say SORT OF right?)
- When I was a junior in college, my boyfriend, at the time, broke up with me 2 days before Valentine’s Day. I was heartbroken, but we had made these reservations for a fancy tapas restaurant and they were going to charge us $80 if we didn’t show up since we had just missed the 48-hour cancellation window. He suggested we go on this Valentine’s Day date as “friends” and, for some strange reason, I agreed to this. Needless to say, this did not go well. It was so incredibly uncomfortable, especially when the waitress told us we were a “cute couple”. He did spring for the lobster though, so there’s that. This example is slightly less “fun” than the previous one, but all the same, it was definitely an awkward situation.
- In elementary school, I gave my crush a snickers bar for Valentine’s Day, which he promptly ate and agreed to be my “boyfriend”. Turns out, he was mildly allergic to nuts and had to be sent home. Not cute. Everything turned out okay though and he still wanted to be my boyfriend even after my well-intentioned candy bar had almost poisoned him. Yipee! Nice kid—I wonder what ever happened to him.
So there we have it, my top 3 most awkward, strangest Valentine’s Days. What do we think folks? Anyone else have any unusual Valentine’s Day experiences to share or is this just a me thing? It’s probably just a me thing, but if you have any fun Valentine’s Day stories you want to share period, drop a comment below!
Thankfully all this nonsense is in the past now and I’ve found the most amazing guy to spend every Valentine’s Day with for the rest of eternity. Sadly though, Mateo and I are long distance at the moment, so we won’t be spending Valentine’s Day together this year. It’s definitely hard being apart, but the fun part is being able to send each other little surprise gifts! Since I love to cook, I usually make my gifts. This year I’ve made one of my favorites, Chai Chocolate Covered Strawberries. Mateo is a huge chocolate fan and I love the exotic flavors of chai tea. Together, this dessert is the perfect blend of the two of us!
Now pretty much everyone has had regular chocolate covered strawberries, right? But, how many of you have had CHAI Chocolate Covered Strawberries? Guys, these things are so ridiculously good, you won’t even want to share them with your Valentine. They may look like regular chocolate strawberries, but as soon as you bite into them, WOW. Flavor explosion. The warm, slightly spicy flavors of chai tea give the chocolate such an amazing complexity and depth of flavor—you’ll have to taste them to believe it! A sweet and juicy strawberry covered in rich, flavorful chai-infused chocolate and dipped in fun, heart-shaped sprinkles that deliver a nice crunch? Hello? Is your mouth watering yet? Mine, definitely is, and I just ate four of these strawberries less than an hour ago.
This recipe is super easy to make too! The trick to getting those deep flavors is to steep the chai tea bags in heavy cream. I used Tazo Organic Chai because I love the high quality of the actual tea in their tea bags. Now, if you’ve read my Vegan Black Sesame Avocado Mousse post, you know that I’m supposed to be cutting down on dairy. Valentine’s Day is definitely an exception to that because the heavy cream gives the chocolate a fantastic creaminess that’s really necessary to make these strawberries super luscious. I pour the hot chai cream over the chocolate chips, let it sit for a few minutes, and mix it all together creating a thick sort-of ganache. I dip each strawberry in the chocolate and then immediately dip it in the heart shaped sprinkles. I had a lot of trouble finding the heart shaped sprinkles at my local grocery store, so I bought them on Amazon. You can get the same ones I used, right here. Delicious!
Now, I just have to figure out how to send fresh strawberries across state lines, so I can share these delicious treats with Mateo. Or, maybe, I’ll just skip sending them and keep them all to myself? At least, I can tell him he inspired the recipe right? Well, anyway, while I go solve this pressing dilemma, go make these delicious strawberries to share to with the one YOU love (or to not share…) Happy Valentine’s Day!
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 8 chai tea bags (paper tags removed, see note)
- 24 strawberries with the green tops still on
- 1.5 cups semi sweet chocolate chips
- 2 tablespoons heart sprinkles
- Wax paper
- Add heavy cream and tea bags into a medium saucepan. Warm on medium-low heat for about 7-9 minutes, stirring occasionally. The cream should be hot and slightly bubbly, but NOT boiling.
- Add the chocolate chips to a large heat-safe bowl.
- Put the heart sprinkles in a bowl, where they can easily accessed.
- Strain the hot cream over the chocolate chips.
- Let sit for 3-4 minutes then stir well until chocolate and cream are uniform.
- Holding one strawberry firmly by its top, dip it into the chocolate until it is about ¾ covered in chocolate.
- Remove and continue to hold the strawberry over the chocolate bowl with one hand. With the other hand, sprinkle a few of the heart sprinkles onto the strawberry, turning the strawberry gently around until all sides are covered in sprinkles.
- Place the strawberry on wax paper. Repeat with the remaining strawberries
- Refrigerate for 45 minutes. Enjoy!