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Thursday, February 10, 2011

Chocolate Dipped Cheesecake-Stuffed Strawberries

Prepared live with Dave, Amanda and Drew, WIBW 13 News Anchors, Thursday early morn, Feb. 10, 2011. Also sampled by Radio Rich and Friends while visiting on his radio program, mid morn same day!

Chocolate Dipped Cheesecake-Stuffed Strawberries
15 fresh large strawberries, washed and thoroughly dried
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
½ cup confectioner’s sugar
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
½ cup graham cracker crumbs
6 oz. dark chocolate

Slice off the stem of each strawberry; use a paring knife to scoop out a little bit of each berry to make a cavity in the center; set berries aside.

In a mixing bowl, combine cream cheese, confectioner’s sugar, and vanilla using an electric mixer; beat until smooth. Place this mixture into a pastry bag fitted with a medium tip and pipe cream cheese mixture into each strawberry, mounding a bit on top of each strawberry. (If pastry bag is not available, use a small spoon to fill strawberries.) As you work, place strawberries onto a wax paper-lined baking sheet. Sprinkle graham cracker crumbs over cream cheese filling in each strawberry, for garnish.

In a small bowl, melt chocolate in microwave at full power, stirring every 30 seconds, until melted and smooth. Gently dip the bottom of each strawberry in the melted chocolate. Set on waxed paper to cool; refrigerate to set chocolate. Srawberries are best served within 6-8 hours of preparation.

Salty-Sweet Snack Mix
1 bag microwave family-size popcorn (not individual size), popped
2 handfuls small pretzel twists
1/2 pkg. almond bark, melted and stirred until smooth
M & M candies, red and pink, or your favorite chocolate candies (1/2 cup - 1 cup)

In a large mixing bowl, pour melted almond bark over popcorn and pretzels; stir to coat. Spread this mixture across a wax paper-lined baking sheet.  While mixture is still warm, sprinkle with M & M's for color.  Once mixture has cooled a bit, break apart into smaller chunks.  Once cooled, store in airtight container or bag into individual servings and give out as Valentine treats - you'll be a hit!

Baby Strawberry Chocolate Cream Puffs
1 box mini cream puffs, from the freezer section at Hy-Vee Grocer
fresh strawberries, sliced
milk chocolate or semi-sweet chocolate chips, placed into a baggie and melted

While cream puffs are still partially frozen, use a serrated knife to cut the top 1/3 of each cream puff off; set caps aside momentarily.  Place a strawberry slice over the bottom half of cream puff, then replace the cap from each cream puff over strawberry slice.  Use scissors to snip one corner from bag of warm melted chocolate; press chocolate from opened corner, drizzling over the top of each cream puff to garnish.  Chill if desired, before serving, or serve as is - yummy!

Happy Valentine's Day!  Cook for those you love - there's no better way to touch a heart.

Now You're Cookin,
Chef Alli