Chocolate Strawberry Reindeer (dairy & nut free)

Ann Taylor sweater xxs (50% off!) c/o – beautiful color. See it in an outfit here

I posted a how-to video for this on Instagram, but it was too cute not to include on the blog. We have a couple holiday gatherings this month and I was in search of allergy-friendly items that impress yet take minimal time to whip up!

I thought of chocolate-covered strawberries since it’s something even my klutzy self has made with success in the past, and once you master these, you can easily change the toppings for different holidays (a quick Pinterest search guided me to Rudolph). With the microwaving shortcut, this one can be done in 30 minutes and my little taste testers were delighted!

PS – After I’m done making a batch of these, I like to whisk some hot milk into my chocolate dipping cup for a mug of hot chocolate!

What You’ll Need
  • 1 container of strawberries (16 oz)
  • 3/4 cup chocolate chips
  • Parchment paper
  • Pretzels
  • Red circle candy or dried cranberries for the noses
  • Candy eyes, found at craft stores like Michaels or select grocery stores. You can also easily make eyes by cutting up pieces of candy (ie licorice), dried fruit, or use round white pearl sprinkles. If dairy allergies aren’t an issue, Nick had the idea to open up a packet of Swiss Miss Marshmallows cocoa mix and pick out the tiny dehydrated marshmallows to use as eyes!
dairy free nut free holiday party treats for kids
Food Allergy Alternatives

For dairy-free chocolate we use Enjoy Life brand (I get it at Amazon or Target), which is free of 14 major food allergens and made in a dedicated nut-free facility. Instead of using M&Ms for the reindeer nose, we swapped in Skittles as a dairy-free, nut-free alternative.

Skittles and the candy eyes can be hard to chew for younger kids though, so next time I’ll dry dried cranberries for the nose and make my own eyes!

1. Wash & Thoroughly Dry the Berries

It’s important to make sure the berries are dried thoroughly before dipping. Water can prevent the chocolate coating from adhering well to the berries, and droplets of water in the chocolate dip can mess up the consistency.

2. Prep the “Antlers”

I used our trusty food scissors to cut my pretzels, but you can just break them by hand or use a paring knife on a cutting board. I then roughly matched up my pretzel pieces in pairs, so that they’re ready to insert after dipping the berries. These do NOT have to be perfect!

I saw on Pinterest most ppl put the antlers on first and then dipped the berries, but I found it much easier to dip first. If you make one end of your pretzel sticks sharp, they’ll be much easier to insert into the strawberry.

I also saw some versions using whole mini pretzels stuck on top of the berries (instead of cut up pretzels), which would save you this entire step!

holiday reindeer chocolate covered strawberries allergy friendly
3. Melt the Chocolate

The proper way to melt chocolate is slowly via a double boiler over stovetop, but I’ve been using the microwave shortcut without issue. I like to use a small deep bowl or glass measuring cup with a handle. The KEY to not burning chocolate chips in the microwave is to do small increments of time and check on it each time.

  • Small Increments. Start with 30 seconds, then one more round of 30 seconds. Add on additional time in increments of 15 seconds, making sure to check the chocolate each time until it’s melty. I then stir the chocolate after taking it out of the microwave.
  • NO water. Make sure not even a drop of water gets inside the bowl, or the chocolate may “seize” and become a clay-like consistency.
  • I add an optional spoonful of coconut oil prior to melting, which allegedly thins out the melted chocolate for more fluid dipping, but this is definitely not a necessity.
4. Dip

While gripping onto the strawberry leaves, dip each strawberry in the melted chocolate, scrape some of the excess chocolate off on the edge of the bowl, and place it down on parchment paper to “set.”

I dip about 4 – 5 berries in a row, pause to decorate them, and then microwave the dipping chocolate about 15 seconds again before resuming dipping.

5. Decorate

Before the chocolate coating dries, stick on your antlers, eyes and nose. That’s it!

Serve the same day, or refrigerate if serving the following day. I would serve these within 24 hours of making them.

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Rudolph Reindeer Chocolate Dipped Strawberries

A fun and easy holiday treat that's easy to modify for food allergies!

Equipment

  • Parchment paper

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup chocolate chips We use Enjoy Life brand for dairy-free chocolate.
  • 1 package strawberries (16 oz)
  • Pretzels
  • Round red candies or dried cranberries
  • Candy eyes You could also cut up pieces of licorice, dried fruit, or mini marshmallows.

Optional

    Instructions

    • Wash and thoroughly dry the berries. It's important that the berries are completely dry before dipping.
    • Prep the antlers by breaking or cutting up the pretzels.
    • Melt the chocolate. Tips for melting in microwave: Start with 30 seconds, then do another 30 seconds. Add on increments of no more than 15 seconds at a time and stir occasionally. Make sure not even a drop of water gets inside the bowl.
    • Grip the leaves of each strawberry and dip into the melted chocolate. Set on parchment paper. Reheat the chocolate as necessary in 15-second increments.
    • Decorate! Before the chocolate coating dries and hardens, add your pretzel antlers, reindeer nose and eyes. Serve within 24 hours and refrigerate if keeping overnight.

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