It doesn’t have to be Valentine’s Day to make an easy and delicious treat. If you are like me, you have a sweet tooth most days and a sweet spot in your heart for the ones you love every day. A few months ago, a Facebook friend mentioned making cheesecake stuffed strawberries. At the time, I made a mental note to find the recipe and have a go at it. I decided to give it a try last week. A quick Google search led me to Nutmeg Nanny’s recipe. I’m always skeptical when I find recipes online. How do I know if this is THE recipe to follow? Will it taste good? Well, once I saw that she had 211 comments on that particular post, I knew I was in business!
I pretty much followed the recipe as written. I opted to use 4 tablespoons of powdered sugar. (Nutmeg Nanny recommends 3-4 tablespoons). I also crumbled up my own graham cracker crumbs by putting a few squares in a plastic baggy and hammering away with a knife sharpener. It’s the perfect way to let out some aggression. But, since it was Valentine’s Day, I wasn’t actually feeling any aggression; it was just more cost-effective than buying a whole box of pre-crumbled graham cracker crumbs. Oh, and Nutmeg Nanny said, “You could also drizzle or dip strawberries in chocolate if desired.” Yes, please. Three to four ounces of semi-sweet chocolate should do the trick!
While the strawberries were chilling, I prepared some boxes for the important ladies in my life. You see, back in the day, I used to buy nice cards and put together gift packages for my mom and my sisters for Valentine’s Day. Over the past few years, I’ve been in kind of a “bah-humbug” mood with most holidays. I decided to turn things around this year and revive my old ways! So, I purchased some red photo boxes and nice cards and put some surprises inside.
What did I put inside? A sparkly handbag, cute tank top, silver necklace, iTunes gift card, Moleskine mini notebooks, and bag of cookies. Essentially, I included everything a girl needs to feel a little special. (Oh, and a Home Depot gift card for my dad.) The best part was that it was unexpected; a little surprise waiting on the doorstep. Consider doing a little something for that special person in your life. You can even include a home-baked treat! (Although, you may want to choose something other than strawberries; I don’t think they’ll travel well in the mail. LOL.)
Recipe (Adapted slightly from Nutmeg Nanny)
1 pound of strawberries
8 oz of cream cheese
4 tablespoons of powdered sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
4-6 graham cracker squares
3-4 oz of semi-sweet chocolate
plastic baggie or piping bag
1. Rinse strawberries and cut off stems. Insert a paring knife into the center of each strawberry and give it a twirl. The inside of the strawberry should come out. Be careful, though, so you don’t tear the skin. (This is where a little trial and error came in. My first technique was to take a paring knife and make a circle perforation in the center of the strawberry. Then, I took the smallest spoon I could find – 1/8 teaspoon – and dug out the inside of the strawberry. This technique didn’t work quite as well.)
2. Mix together the cream cheese, powdered sugar and vanilla extract. It’s fine to do this with a spoon. But, if you really want it to be creamy and well mixed, use a hand mixer.
3. Once the cheesecake filling is nice and smooth, transfer it from the bowl to a plastic baggie. (If you’re fancy, go ahead and put it in a piping bag.) Snip off a corner of the plastic baggie so that the filling can easily ooze through.
4. Gently fill each hollowed out strawberry with the cheesecake filling.
5. Sprinkle the top of each strawberry with the graham cracker crumbs or dip the tops in the crumbs. Set them aside for a few minutes.
6. Melt the semi-sweet chocolate in 30 second intervals in the microwave. Once melted, drizzle the strawberries with chocolate. You can also dip the bottoms of the strawberries in chocolate. However, you may find that the cheesecake filling starts to come out the top if you hold the strawberries too tightly.
7. As you dip each strawberry in the chocolate, transfer it to a parchment paper lined container or tray. Stick the strawberries in the refrigerator so that the chocolate can set.