Friday, February 19, 2010

Wonder Wife Recipe: Cheesecake-Stuffed Chocolate Strawberries

If you've ever made chocolate-covered strawberries, you know there is probably no dessert as impressive that is so easy to make. Literally - melt, and dip.

But if you're interested in doing something a little more special than even that, you should try Cheesecake-Stuffed Chocolate Strawberries. Not only are they ALSO very simple, they will impress the socks off your sweetie. Oh, and they taste good, too.

Better than good.

The following step-by-step only makes enough "cheesecake" filling for 6-8 strawberries - perfect for two. But you can easily double, triple, or quadruple the filling to make more.

Let's start with half a brick of cream cheese - four ounces.

Throw it in a bowl to let it soften and come to room temperature.

Wash and dry your strawberries. Pick big ones for this recipe.

Now, this step is NOT hard. Repeat after me: "This is not going to be hard."

But you DO need to be careful on this step. With a small paring knife, cut a V out of the top to remove the leaves. Then, with the same small knife, cut out the center of the strawberry. Imagine that you're cutting out a "cone" from the inside of the berry.

Invert the hollowed berries onto a paper towel and refrigerate while you prepare the cheesecake filling.

Get out your hand mixer! Your four ounces of cheesecake should be softened enough to mix easily.

Add a scant quarter-cup of flour. In the photo below, I am using a half-cup measure that also has a line in the middle to denote a quarter-cup. So you can see that a "scant quarter cup" falls below that line.

And add a heaping quarter-cup of sugar. (Again, see that the sugar is over the quarter-cup line.) You can use either granulated or powdered sugar. I prefer powdered sugar, but I discovered I was out and had to resort to using granulated sugar. If you DO use powdered sugar, use a quarter cup of sugar and taste the filling after you blend it to make sure it's sweet enough. Feel free to add more.

Blend together the flour, sugar, and cream cheese. Then add 1/2 teaspoon vanilla and 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice.

Mix well, scraping down the bowl to make sure it's thoroughly blended.

It's done! It should be nice and soft.

I'm using a fancy frosting bag here with a fancy star tip, but you can cut a corner out of a plastic bag if you don't have one of these.

Use a glass to stabilize the bag while you fill it with the cream cheese mixture.

Let's return to the berries. Starting at the bottom of the strawberry, pipe the filling slowly into the hollow.

Stand the berries on their end in a bowl small enough to support them. Since the filling is soft, it will lose its shape if you lay the strawberries on their sides.

Refrigerate for at least an hour to allow the filling to firm up.

Once the filling feels firm to the touch, it's time to dip your strawberries.

Melt 4-5 ounces of good-quality chocolate chips in a dish that will be conducive to dipping - shallow and kind of narrow. (I used Ghirardelli 60% Cacao Bittersweet Chips.) The lower-quality chocolate you buy, the less nicely it will melt for you.

(To melt, microwave for 30 seconds at a time, stirring after each 30-second interval. It should take two or three 30-second turns before it's melted.)

Prepare a flat cookie sheet with some wax paper or parchment paper. We're good to go!

Very carefully, dip your strawberries, holding them near the top and tipping the chocolate dish as needed to cover the sides.

It's okay if they don't look perfect, because I'm about to show you a sweet Wonder Wife tip.

See this leftover chocolate? We're going to put it to good use.

Take a sandwich-size plastic baggie and fold it into/over/whatever a mug or cup.

Scoop the chocolate into the bag with a spatula, and THEN cut off the teeniest, tiniest corner of the bag with a pair of scissors.

See where the red line is? I'm talking a TINY corner. If you make the corner too big, your strawberries will not have dainty drizzles, they will have chocolate worms.

You can always cut the corner bigger if it's too small.

And, pretending you are a world-famous pastry chef, artistically fling the chocolate all over those strawberries. However you want to do it, it will look just perfect.

Be prepared to go a little crazy with this. You will probably have a little bit of chocolate left over in the bag, and so you will find yourself wandering around your kitchen looking for food to decorate.

Pardon my frankness, but even the dog's business would probably look delicious with a chocolate drizzle.

And just think of the possibilities! Instead of using the leftover dark chocolate, melt up some milk chocolate or even white chocolate to drizzle! What a contrast! What a delight! What a work of art! And from your own kitchen, no less!

For what it's worth, I experimented by piping some of the leftover cheesecake filling onto hollowed out halves of strawberries and then dipping those too. These would probably be better for a wedding shower or a ladies' luncheon, because as delicious as the whole strawberries are, they are BIG. And eating them in a few bites can get messy. The halves were easier to pop into my mouth without getting chocolate all over my face. But next time, if I do the halves instead of whole berries, I won't cut off the leaves. It would look prettier and they'd be easier to dip, too.

Refrigerate until the chocolate is firm, and then feed to whomever you would like to woo. Your mission will be a success - and therefore, so will mine.

Go forth, and strawberry it up!

No comments:

Post a Comment