“WOW!” “Ooooooooooh’s and aaaaaaaah’s as you dramatically spin said strawberry tower around. – The exact reaction you’ll receive when you make this.
The first time I made a Strawberry Tower, I was walking through my apartment complex with this massive thing shooting out of a box not quite large enough to hold its greatness. Gazes locked on the package that I was struggling with as I made it to my car. Not one passerby had ever seen anything like this, taking me by surprise as Instagram is swimming with like creations. Regardless, the feeling that a stranger can give you because of what you had created in your small apartment kitchen- filled me up, and wow was I drinking that in all day.
I began this blog to share recipes, creations, tips, but mostly that feeling. The smile of a recipient, the confidence of a self-taught chef, or a complement of a stranger.
A couple things before we dive into the “how to” of this situation. The smell is really quite nice, and slightly conflicting. First you have sweet strawberries that have been delicately dressed in an aroma of white chocolate, and the secondary smell of the fragrant rose. So, yes, this can double as an air freshener.
Another nice little tip my dear readers. Do not, I repeat… DO NOT use regular gel-based food coloring for chocolate. Some of us had to learn the more difficult way *cough cough*, but that is why I’m here today, and why you’re here today. To stand up and prevent chocolate from being brutally mishandled. Invest in oil-based food colors when dealing with chocolate ☺
Lastly, the more expensive your chocolate is, the better it will taste. If you are planning out this project in advance, there are many amazing choices of chocolate on amazon. Likewise, with oil-based food colors. If you are like me and are not necessarily “plan ahead” inclined, the supermarket can offer substitutions for both color and chocolate, I will elaborate more below.
Supplies you’ll need:
Two Dozen Fresh Roses
Roughly 40-50 strawberries
Chocolate *Preferably white if you’d like your strawberries to be a color*
Styrofoam Cone – for the approximate number of roses and strawberries listed above I used a 3 7/8in x 11 7/8in, you can find these on Amazon or a local craft store
Large Styrofoam base/half circle- used to stick the strawberries in
8 Inch Cake Board
Optional toppings I used: edible gold leaf transfer sheets, and nonpareil white sprinkles
Begin by washing your strawberries really well and patting them completely dry. The chocolate coating will go on much nicer when the strawberries are clean and dry. To prepare the strawberries to dip, remove the green stem (pictured below) and insert a toothpick in the center. *little tip: Extremely ripe, almost mushy strawberries will not hold. I recommend using strawberries within a few days from purchasing at the market.*
As you can see below, I found another way to color my white chocolate to a pretty soft pink. Wilton candy melts! Keep in mind with what I said about expensive chocolate here… For orders I strictly use top of the line White Chocolate colored with Oil-based food color, as I don’t like to compromise in flavor. But for today’s purpose, I wanted to show you guys an easy way to go about the coloring. For every cup of chocolate, melt a tablespoon of coconut oil along with it. Coconut oil thins out the chocolate beautifully and hardens it almost instantaneously. It’s like a chocolate covered strawberry elixir!
To melt the chocolate, you may either use a double boiler on the stove OR microwave at 30 second intervals. Don’t even think about throwing it in a microwave for 2 minutes and walking away, that’s almost worse than gel-based food color. After each 30 seconds, take the chocolate out and stir it around, making sure it is melting evenly.
Once it’s melted, stir in your gel-based color to the shade that you like. Then take a tooth picked strawberry and completely cover it in the chocolate. Twirl the fruit around letting any excess chocolate fall off. Turn the strawberry toothpick down and stick it in to the Styrofoam piece mentioned above. Do this for all 40-50 strawberries.
For gold leafing: wait about a minute after dipping, when the chocolate hasn’t completely set, to then take a transfer sheet and delicately smooth gold over the surface of the strawberry.
For sprinkles: Before you stick the strawberry in the Styrofoam and the excess chocolate has dripped off, add sprinkles all around the sticky surface.
To assemble tower, add a small bit of chocolate to the center of the cake board, and stick the Styrofoam cone onto it and press for about a minute (until the chocolate hardens). At any point in this process- remember that the chocolate can act as a glue. For roses that can’t be tamed, strawberries sliding off the toothpicks- any debacle, add a bit of melted chocolate.
For the roses, you’ll need scissors and a small pointed tool that will create the holes to stick the roses into. I used a fondant tool! Mark the holes on the cone (as pictured below), cut roses, leaving about 1 inch of stem to stick into the Styrofoam. Begin at the very top and work your way down each of the sides and all around the base.
Once all of your roses are in, begin to place the strawberries on the naked and exposed parts of the cone. Put them in at about a 45-degree angle, so the tips of the berries are pointing up. Once all of the strawberries are secured, you’re finished! You did it! The tower will last overnight if you tuck it in and kiss it goodnight in the refrigerator.