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Chocolate-dipped Strawberries

Chocolate-dipped Strawberries - serves about 1 pound

1 pint fresh strawberries, washed and patted dry, stems intact, and thoroughly air-dried
8 ounces good-quality bittersweet chocolate, broken into chunks
1 tablespoon solid white vegetable shortening
1 ounce Grand Marnier liquor or fruited brandy

Instructions:

Prepare ahead: Wrap pieces of styrofoam in plastic wrap for fruit to rest and drip on. You can also use any firm-fleshed fruit, such as cantelope or orange halves.

Pour about 1 inch of water into bottom of a double-boiler and heat to hot but not simmering. Melt chocolate and shortening in top of double-boiler, stirring occasionally until completely melted and smooth. Remove top pot and place on a heat-safe tripod. Let cool for about 5 minutes. While chocolate cools a bit, carefully spear strawberries with toothpicks. Working quickly, swirl each strawberry gently in the chocolate about halfway up the fruit and place inverted on toothpicks into the styrofoam to cool and harden. When done, place in refrigerator to further set chocolate shell. When completely hardened, use a syringe to carefully inject a bit of the liquor into the center of each strawberry, being careful not to over-fill. Chocolate drippings can be stripped from plastic wrap and retained for other uses.

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