"How does a Tauren hide in a cherry tree? He paints his hooves red!"
Three Very Important Notes™ about this week's gaming snack:
- Yeah, we know that's not a cherry in the photo, and yeah, we know that the colors of the finished product are actually the opposite of a Tauren's painted toenails. It's called artistic license. /gkick me.
- You really need to try this one out on your significant other for Valentine's Day (which is oh-so-coincidentally right around the corner) ... especially if your S.O. is not always pleased with the amount of time you spend logged in, and especially if you explain that you made these yourself from a recipe on a WoW blog. Trust me – this trumps the generic Box of Chocolates by a long shot.
- Fresh fruit is good for you. Dark chocolate is good for you. Who says gamers have to be Cheetos-munching chumps?
This week's Well Fed Buff isn't so much a recipe as is it a reminder to combine two of the most delicious ingredients a person could snack on: fresh fruit and dark chocolate. And it's easy: melt, dip, eat – even a n00b could do it. Chocolate-dipped fruit is healthy ... delicious ... romantic ... energizing ... What more could you ask for?
- 2 packages semi-sweet chocolate chips
- Fresh fruit of your choice (traditional favorites are berries and bananas)
- Optional toppings (granola, finely chopped nuts, sprinkles, etc.)
- Optional toothpicks, popsicle sticks or skewers
This recipe is so basic that you can PuG it with great results. Wash your fruit (please don't skip this step; you might want to consider organic strawberries, if you can get them and afford it, since conventional strawberries are both highly sprayed with pesticides and difficult to clean); chop or slice, if you like; and start dipping.
Toothpicks, popsicle sticks or skewers work well for small fruits like blueberries or for bananas. The easiest way to handle fruit after dipping is to lay it on a wax paper-lined cookie sheet, which you can then slide into the refrigerator to cool. (The chocolate shell will be crunchy if you eat them straight from the fridge, so take them out early to soften up a bit if you want a smoother experience.)
The only trick to pulling off a great event here is melting the chocolate. Let's review the basics, excerpted from our previous Maiev's Grudge recipe:
Melt the chocolate chips. You don't have to have epic cooking gear to do this right. For those of you who haven't completed any of the instances that drop double boilers, two saucepans provide equivalent stats (although you will, unfortunately, suffer from that "I just arrived in the Outland and look like a clown" effect). Fill the first saucepan about one-third to one-half of the way with water and put it on to boil. Fill the other with the chocolate chips. When the water boils, place the pan with the chips on top, slightly tilted so that it fits inside the other pan and all the chips nestle together down at the bottom in the heat.
It's worth noting that you can once again ask a mage to melt the chocolate with Arcane Missiles in the microwave, but it's very easy to overshoot the right consistency. Mages tend to get whiny if you ask them to interrupt channeling so you can check things out, after all.
The key here is the slow application of heat; too much too fast will cause it to scorch or crystallize. Stir, stir, stir the whole time. If you wait too long, a snare effect sets in and the whole thing resembles Encased Corrupt Ooze. No AFKing!
The beauty of chocolate-dipped fruit is that you can get as fancy – or as simple – as you like. At its most basic, it's a quick treat that only requires two ingredients, is ready in just a few minutes and is both a special treat as well as something that's actually good for you (in moderation, of course!). With more attention to detail, it can become a romantic feast or festive party food. It's all up to you.
Let's talk for a minute about how to dip. Your method will depend upon your fruit and your presentation. We dip strawberries in their native form (just hold them by the green tops while you dunk). Try use toothpicks for little blueberries and sliced banana slices. My lowbies love using popsicle sticks or bamboo skewers on full or halved bananas ("rocket blasters").
Or try setting out the fruit with toothpicks and a bowl of melted chocolate, fondu-style. Decadent.
Consider the alternatives to chocolate: caramel, white chocolate ... Double-dip once the first layer has completely dried and hardened, or drizzle and paint patterns on top of the main layer. And don't forget toppings: Roll in granola or finely chopped nuts, go hardcore with cupcake sprinkles, dip strawberry tips in fruit syrups, drizzle berries with thin lines of caramel or white chocolate ... You get the idea.
Submit your own Warcraft-themed noshes for Well Fed Buff – we're always looking for a tasty stat boost!