Remember Pop Rocks and how fun it was to have a little explosion taking over your tongue?
Molecule-R, which makes molecular gastronomy kits for the “amateur chef” to make edible and unusal delights in your own humble kitchen, has packaged popping sugar in 2.8-ounce canisters. I thought popping sugar would be a great treat for the Fourth of July – fireworks in your mouth!
The popping sugar, which is really just carbonated sugar, has limited uses, however. If the sugar is mixed with aqueous liquid, it melts and loses its popping characteristic. So you can’t bake it into brownies (my first choice). In fact, I mostly found recipes for adding the carbonated sugar to chocolate candy. Popping sugar “does not melt when in contact with fat or oils so it can be mixed with ingredients such as chocolate, foie gras, ice cream or icing,” says Molecule-R. Which means frosted brownies could work!
But since strawberries are in-season in July, and beautifully display the vibrant red of the holiday colors, chocolate covered strawberries sprinkled with popping sugar make a perfect treat for the Fourth of July. Only don’t tell your friends about the sugar! Let them be surprised and watch their eyes grow round with childlike wonder (panic?) when they take a bite. Heh, heh, heh….
Chocolate covered strawberries with popping sugar
3 to 4 ounces of dark chocolate
1 pint of strawberries, washed and dried with stems on
1 2.8-ounce can of popping sugar
1. Melt the chocolate in a double boiler or in the microwave in small bowl, stirring occasionally. If using a double boiler, transfer the melted chocolate to a smaller bowl for dipping the strawberries.
2. Cover a cookie sheet in wax paper.
3. Grabbing a strawberry by the stem, dip it into the chocolate.
4. For best results, I found that holding the dipped strawberry over a plate and then using your fingertips to sprinkle the popping sugar works best. If you roll the strawberry in the sugar, the sugar tends to sink into the chocolate and loses its textured look. And eventually the moisture from the chocolate will cause the sugar to clump in the bowl. So use your fingers and sprinkle.
5. Set the dipped and covered strawberry on the wax-paper lined cookie sheet until the chocolate has set. If you are in a rush, and you'll be serving them soon, place the covered strawberries the freezer for about 10 minutes, or until the chocolate has set. But don't over do it because the strawberries will sweat when they warm up. Humidity causes the sugar to soften and the popping effect will diminish.