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
Keywords: dessert vegetarian gluten-free amaretto chocolate strawberry cream cheese
- 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)
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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).
- Allow the chocolate to cool, then place the strawberries in the refrigerator until the chocolate is completely set, about 30 minutes.
For buttercream frosting:
- 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.
- 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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