If you want to melt hearts this Valentine's Day, dark chocolate-dipped strawberries are one of the most romantic foods to serve. They seem fancy and decadent, but they couldn't be easier to make. Just use your microwave to melt chocolate (no double boiler on the stovetop required!). Whip up a batch before dinner and they'll be ready by the time you hit dessert. (For a gift, let the treats cool, wrap in wax paper and place them in a pretty box.)

You can go beyond strawberries, too, of course, and use anything from fresh or dried fruits to nuts or pretzels. More good news: dark chocolate is full of flavanols, which promote heart health and may also help reduce inflammation. (Related: 4 Health Benefits of Chocolate (and Cons to Consider)

Here's an easy 3-step method to make your own fancy dark chocolate-dipped strawberries or other chocolate-dipped treats this Valentine's Day.

Step 1: Choose Your Dipper and Topping

  • Dippers (choose one)
  • 12 large strawberries
  • 36 dried apricots
  • 6 graham crackers, broken into 4 pieces each
  • 12 dried pineapple rings
  • 24 whole-wheat pretzel twists
  • 36 clementine sections (from 4 clementines)
  • 48 pecan halves
  • Toppings (2 tablespoons each)
  • Lime zest
  • Chopped nuts (pistachios or macadamia nuts)
  • Chopped dehydrated fruit (bananas or raspberries)
  • Cocoa nibs
  • Chopped crystallized ginger
  • Turbinado sugar

Step 2: Melt the Chocolate
Place about 1/2 cup bittersweet chocolate chips in a small glass bowl. Microwave on Medium for 1 minute. Stir, then continue microwaving in 20-second intervals until melted, stirring after each interval. Or melt in the top of a double boiler over hot, but not boiling water.

Step 3: Start Dipping
Line a baking sheet with parchment or wax paper. Dip 1/2 to 2/3 of each dipper into the melted chocolate. Let the excess drip back into the bowl. Place on the prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle the topping on the chocolate. Refrigerate until set, about 30 minutes. Refrigerate fresh fruit in an airtight container for up to 1 day. Store pretzels, crackers and dried fruit airtight at room temperature for up to 3 days.