TASTE TEST POLL WINNERS:
APPLES & APRICOTS
DIPPED IN CHOCOLATE
By Cal Orey
"Chocolate is a perfect food."
-- Baron Justus von Liebig
Last night a bit of chilly pre-autumn vibes filled the bedroom air despite the fact it's August at Lake Tahoe--the hottest month of the year. The Writing Gourmet's popular Food poll results for the topic "What is Your Fave Summer Fruit?" rolled in... Here are the earthshaking favorites. Surprise! (I thought it would be strawberries. Not so much.)
Juicy Watermelon 25%
Veratile Strawberries 0%
Sweet Apricots 25%
Pretty Plums 16%
I Prefer Apples All-Year Round 33%
Yesterday as I watched the poll come to a close, I fantasized about baking a double crust apple pie or an apricot cobbler. Then, I toyed with apple and apricot muffins. But BAM! Mother Nature took over. After the Earth shook in the Gulf of California--at 11:20 P.M. I, the earthquake intuitive and author of The Man Who Predicts Earthquakes, received a telephone call from Coast to Coast radio program. I was invited to be a guest at 11:30. And I talked quakes, the seismic lull on the West Coast, and the real possibility for notable shakers in the Golden State--known for its abundance of fresh fruit and awesome chocolate--during August.
Today I'm thinking "Why bake? I love fresh summer fruit--as is." Why not celebrate the two winning fruits--apples and apricots--and dip them in chocolate? So I purchased Ghirardelli white chocolate and dark chocolate chips: Classic White Chips and 60% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate Chips. I love the idea of dipping sweet and tart sliced fiji apples (fiber plentiful) and chewy, plump dried apricots (rich in potassium) into chocolate--white and dark.
Chocolate Dipped Fruit
It's easy as 1-2-3.
1. Pour chocolate chips into a bowl and microwave till melted. Don't overcook! About 30 seconds or less does the trick.
2. Dip fruit pieces--washed and sliced apples and dried apricots or fresh halves into the chocolate.
3. Place each coated fruit on a piece of foil. Refrigerate for about 20 minutes or until the chocolate hardens. Serve on a plate of your choice.
The end results: You, like me, can enjoy the winning fruits without baking. And by adding chocolate you're getting more disease-fighting antioxidants, nutrients, and feel-good compounds with the dark chocolate and bone-boosting calcium with the white chocolate. Congrats to apples and apricots. You'll love the chocolate dipped fruit. I know I will. And just to be different, I'm going to dip some big fresh, organic strawberries because they are still in season and the first chocolate dipped fruit experience I had in an Italian restaurant. It's all good in the summertime.
P.S. Just tried a white chocolate covered dried apricot and fresh apricot. The dried one is like the traditional dark chocolate ones I've tried from chocolatiers; the fresh summer apricot? Ah, it was juicy, sweet, and perfect for warm days and cooler nights.