I went to a family picnic and wanted to bring a small dessert/snack. When I asked my husband what kind of treat he wanted, he eagerly responded with "something with cheesecake!" Which brought me to one of my favorite lunchbox snacks, cheesecake stuffed strawberries. When I toss them in my lunch, they're usually prepared without much ado. But for this gathering, I wanted them to be a bit more presentable and special looking.
yields 48 strawberries
48 strawberries, about 2 pounds
1/4 cup or so chocolate, I used white
1 block cream cheese, 8 ounces, room temp
6-8 tablespoons sifted powdered sugar - more or less, depending on desired sweetness
1 tablespoon milk
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 - 1 teaspoon almond extract, to taste
1/2 vanilla bean, scraped, optional
1/3 cup graham cracker crumbs, maybe a little more
1. Wash berries and let dry completely. Cut of stems, hull the berries, and slice off just the tip of the berry. Stand the berries on end on a paper towel to pull some moisture away from the cut surface.
2. Melt chocolate by microwaving for 20 seconds on 50% power, stirring, and repeating until smooth. Dip just the tips of the berries into the chocolate and place on a wax paper lined baking sheet. Refrigerate for 10 minutes to help the chocolate set.
3. While chocolate is setting , make the cheesecake filling. In a small bowl, use a hand mixer to combine the cream cheese, powdered sugar, milk, extracts, and vanilla bean (if using). Place into a pastry bag fitted with a narrow tip to fill the berries.
4. Put graham cracker crumbs into a small bowl.
5. Fill strawberries to the top, so that it overfills just a little bit. Dip the top into the graham cracker crumbs. Repeat.
Refrigerate until serving.