Chocolate Dipped Fruit
2 large oranges
2 pints large strawberries
1 cup salted peanuts
2 - 8 oz packages semi sweet chocolate squares
Peel oranges and separate into sections. Wrap sections in plastic wrap so they do not dry out. Rinse strawberries under cold running water, do not remove the stems. Pat berries completely dry with paper towels. Set fruit aside. Fruit should be at room temperature for dipping. Place peanuts in a small bowl.
Into a double boiler top, not over water, grate semi sweet chocolate squares. Set candy thermometer in place, set aside. Heat water to boiling in double boiler bottom; remove from heat. Place double boiler top over hot water; melt chocolate, stirring constantly with rubber spatula, until temperature reaches 130 degrees.
Immediately discard hot water from double boiler bottom and refill with cold water to come one-third of the way up the side of the double boiler. Set top in place and cool chocolate, stirring constantly, until chocolate temperature reaches 83 degrees.
Remove double boiler top and replace cold water in bottom with warm water (about 85 degrees). This will keep the chocolate and dipping consistency longer.
With fingers, hold one piece of fruit at a time and dip it into chocolate, leaving part of fruit uncovered. Shake off excess chocolate or gently scrape one side of fruit to remove excess. Place on waxed paper.
Working quickly, stir peanuts into leftover chocolate in pan. Drop mixture by tablespoonfuls onto waxed paper. Let chocolate covered fruit and peanut clusters stand until chocolate is set (about 10 minutes) before removing from waxed paper.
Serve dipped fresh fruit same day. Store peanut clusters in tightly covered container; use within one week.
Note: Chocolate can be easily melted in the microwave as well. Break chocolate into chunks and microwave in increments of 20-30 seconds, stirring in between each session.
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