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Chocolate Dip for Cookies

Makes enough dip for eight to 10 dozen small cookies

4 ounces white, milk, semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate (squares, morsels, or
   coarsely chopped pieces)

1. To melt chocolate in a microwave oven, put unwrapped chocolate in a small
microwave-safe bowl. Heat for 1 minute on low power (20 percent to 30 percent).
Remove, stir with a small rubber spatula and continue to heat, as needed, on low
power for short intervals, 10 to 15 seconds. Stir after each interval until chocolate
is melted and glossy. Use the shortest possible heating time. (White chocolate melts
faster than milk or dark chocolate.) If chocolate texture becomes grainy, it cannot
be used for dipping and should be discarded.

2. To melt chocolate in a double boiler, place unwrapped chocolate in a small
saucepan set over a larger pan with a small amount of gently simmering (not boiling)
water. Do not let the water or steam touch the chocolate. Heat for about 4 minutes.
Stir as soon as the chocolate begins to melt. Remove from the heat at once and
scrape into a small bowl.

3. To dip the cookies, stir the chocolate until it is smooth and velvety, then dip one
side of a cookie into the chocolate and place it on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
Repeat with remaining cookies. Finely crushed nuts, jimmies or colored sugar can
be sprinkled on the chocolate before it sets. Refrigerate cookies until the chocolate
sets, about 30 minutes.

4. Stir the melted chocolate often so it does not harden. Or, put the bowl in a larger
bowl with some warm (not hot) water. (Do not let water touch the chocolate.) If the
chocolate hardens, heat it in the microwave on low power in 10-second intervals
until it melts. As the chocolate is used, tilt the bowl and scrape down the chocolate
to facilitate dipping.

5. For half-white, half-dark chocolate coatings, dip cookies first in white chocolate
and refrigerate until set. Then melt dark chocolate, dip the other side and refrigerate
until set.

Cook's note: For red or green chocolate, add that powdered gel base food color to
white chocolate.

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