Never-too-late ganache strawberries

I’m typing this in my pajamas, and hopefully you’re reading this in bed, but take a second to consider making something last minute in celebration of the last night of 2010. Bringing along a plate of hand-dipped chocolate-covered strawberries to whatever New Year’s Eve adventures await will make you a thousand times more memorable than the guy who brought the hummus.

Even lackluster winter berries won’t be denied wearing a jacket of chocolate ganache spiked with liquor. 20 minutes is all it takes for treats for impressing your friends and family into the new year, so relax, you have plenty of time yet. And if I don’t run into you tonight bearing a golden platter of these, have one hell of a happy new year and I’ll be seeing you in 2011!

Chocolate Ganache Jacket Strawberries
2 quarts strawberries, stems & leaves intact
6 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips (about 1 overflowing cup)
1/3 cup almond milk or soy milk creamer
1 teaspoon non-hydrogenated vegan margarine
1 tablespoon orange (Grand Marnier) or hazelnut (Frangelico) liqueur

Wash and pat dry strawberries. Line a cutting board or large dinner plate with waxed paper.

In a deep saucepan over medium heat bring almond milk to a gentle boil, then remove from heat. Using a rubber spatula stir in margarine and chocolate chips. Stir constantly until chocolate chips are melted and very smooth, about 4-5 minutes. Stir in liqueur and let mixture cool for 4 minutes. Gently hold a strawberry by the stem, and using a swirling motion dip the bottom half of the berry into ganache and place immediately on waxed paper. Repeat with remaining berries and move cutting board or plate of berries into the refrigerator, chill until ganache is firm. Serve immediately or store chilled in a tightly covered container for a day.

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