Wash the strawberries well in cool water. Pat dry well with a cotton towel. Gently shape the top leaves by pulling them upwards away from the fruit, so that they will be out of the way when dipped in chocolate.
You may choose to cut the skewers to various lengths. Just as you would when arranging fresh flowers, we clipped 1”-3” off of the non-pointed end of some of the skewers, for better composition in our table arrangement.
Using one skewer per strawberry, pierce each strawberry in the center of the leaves, careful not to pierce through the fruit.
Prepare a glass measuring cup by wedging a clean cotton towel inside. This is where you will place the skewered chocolate covered strawberries once they are prepared.
Place chocolate chips and vegetable shortening in a shallow glass dish. Microwave on high for 1 minute, remove from microwave and stir, then return to microwave for 30 more seconds. Stir again, adding the cayenne pepper. The chocolate should be creamy, without lumps. Do not overheat, but feel free to reheat your chocolate for 15-20 seconds if it cools too much for easy dipping.
Dip each strawberry into the warm chocolate, coating well on all sides of the strawberry. Wedge the skewer down between the towel and around the inner side of the measuring cup, so that the strawberry can cool down and dry. Do not let the strawberries touch while preparing the remaining fruit.
The chocolate should be cooled and formed within 10 minutes. No refrigeration is needed.
Remove the skewers and serve the strawberries on plates, use as garnishes on cakes, or leave on the skewers to place in flower vases, fruit arrangements, or small bud vases at each place setting.