Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Cheesecake Stuffed Strawberries

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.

These turned out fantastic, and were eaten up almost immediately.  I made 4 dozen, but only 3 dozen made it out the door with me.  The strawberries were flavorful and juicy and were amazing with the creamy cheesecake middle which was so smooth, rich, and decadent.  The white chocolate stands added a nice sweetness and texture as did the graham cracker crumbs on top. 

These are super easy to make and seem really impressive when brought to a party.  They will continue to make an appearance in my lunchbox and at parties.

 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.

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