Monday, April 2, 2012

A is for: Amaretto Cream Cheese Chocolate Strawberries {for Easter!}

I got so carried away with the delicious avocado fries that I forgot to announce I've decided to start back over with the letter "A." I considered several options...including dropping the letter theme altogether, picking letters randomly out of a hat, etc.

Ultimately, I decided I really like the letters because it gives me a focus and direction each week. And when I think back to the first days of the blog, I really neglected the beginning of the alphabet. I only posted ONE recipe during A week the first time around. Can you believe that? (Not to mention some less than stellar photos).

I promise that won't be the case this week. I've got some delicious A recipes to share with you, including these AH-mazing amaretto cream cheese filled strawberries dipped in a Bailey's chocolate sauce and decorated with pastel buttercream to look like Easter eggs. They're a mouthful of goodness...sort of like that last sentence.

First, you'll need to hull some strawberries. Of course, you could just use a paring knife, or a grapefruit spoon, or something already in your kitchen. But being someone obsessed with kitchen gadgets, I had my mom pick me up one of these Chef'n Strawberry Hullers from Williams-Sonoma. Isn't it just the cutest? You can also use it to seed a tomato as well.

All you do is press the little green "stem" button, insert into the strawberry, give a little twist, and VOILA! A perfectly hulled strawberry.

To make the filling, mix up some room temperature cream cheese, amaretto, and powdered sugar.

Pipe the filling into the hollowed out strawberries using a pastry bag or a small Ziplock bag with the corner snipped off. (Although I own pastry bags and frosting tips, I opted for the Ziplock bag in this instance since it didn't need to look fancy). Refrigerate for 30-60 minutes so the cream cheese has a chance to firm back up. (Note: if you want to make these kid-friendly or alcohol-free, you can sub almond extract for the amaretto).

For the chocolate, you should technically use a double boiler, but I was lazy, so I just stuck some chocolate chips, cream, Bailey's and coconut oil in the microwave and heated on high until it was fully melted. (Mine took about 3 minutes, stopping every minute to stir). Allow to cool slightly and dip each strawberry at an angle into the chocolate, give a swift turn (so cream cheese doesn't ooze out) and place on a pan lined with parchment paper. If you want to sprinkle with chopped nuts or coconut, you can do that now while the chocolate is still wet. However, I wanted to decorate mine like Easter eggs, so I just stuck them into the fridge to set.

I had originally purchased some gel frosting tubes, but I didn't realize they were so...well...gel-ly. They didn't show up AT ALL on the strawberries, so I made a basic buttercream frosting and colored them with food coloring to make my own Easter colors.

I used a bunch of Ziplock bags with the teeny-tiniest hole snipped off the corner to pipe out the frosting. (To be more precise, you might try a pastry bag fitted with very fine tips). By the way...I make HUGE messes in the kitchen when I cook. Sometimes I feel like the Tasmanian Devil.

And then the fun part...decorating! Swirls, dots, stripes...let your imagination run wild. (In case you wondering, I was channeling my inner Jackson Pollock with that middle one). Happy Easter everyone!
Amaretto Cream Cheese Chocolate Strawberries

by Jaymee Sire (adapted from Viking Range website)
Keywords: dessert vegetarian gluten-free amaretto chocolate strawberry cream cheese

    For the strawberries:
    • 4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
    • 2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
    • 1-2 tablespoons amaretto (can use 1-2 teaspoons almond extract for non-alcoholic version)
    • 8 large fresh strawberries
    • 1 cup chocolate chips
    • 3 tablespoons heavy cream
    • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
    • 1 tablespoon Bailey's Irish Cream (optional)
    • toppings such as nuts, sugar or coconut (optional, but only recommended if not decorating for Easter)
    • pastel frosting (either store-bought or homemade)
    For homemade buttercream frosting:
    • 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
    • 3-4 tablespoons milk or half and half
    • 1 pound confectioner's sugar
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla
    • assorted food coloring
    For strawberries:
    1. Using a paring knife, grapefruit spoon or strawberry huller, remove stems from strawberries and the white hull inside. Place hollowed out strawberries back in refrigerator while mixing stuffing.
    2. Mix together cream cheese, powdered sugar and desired amount of amaretto until mixture is smooth. Place mixture in a pastry bag fitted with plain tip or a plastic bag with the corner snipped off and pipe into strawberries. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
    3. Place chocolate, cream, coconut oil and Bailey's in a microwave safe container and heat on high until chocolate is melted, stopping every minute to stir. (Or you can use a double boiler). Allow chocolate to cool slightly.
    4. Holding each strawberry by the tip, dip the stuffed end into the chocolate mixture in one fluid motion. Dunk at a slight angle, turning as you go so the filling doesn't ooze out into the chocolate. Coat the dipped strawberry with your choice of topping (if using), then transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet. (If you are adding any toppings such as nuts or coconut, add these now while chocolate is still wet).
    5. Allow the chocolate to cool, then place the strawberries in the refrigerator until the chocolate is completely set, about 30 minutes.

    For buttercream frosting:
    1. Combine ingredients in large bowl or stand mixing bowl and beat on medium to medium-high speed until everything is creamy and well combined. Add more sugar if necessary to make a stiffer frosting. Divide into small bowls and experiment with food coloring to achieve desired colors.
    2. Using pastry bags with very fine tips or Ziplock bags with tiny holes cut in the corners, decorate the strawberries. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
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    1 comment:

    I would LOVE to hear what you think. I read every comment and get a little giddy when I see someone has left one on the blog. Thanks for stopping by!

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