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Cheesecake-Stuffed Strawberries

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Cheesecake-Stuffed Strawberries
(c) 2012 Elizabeth LaBau, licensed to About.com, Inc.
Love the taste of cheesecake, but hate the guilt of eating a big slice? Try these Cheesecake-Stuffed Strawberries instead! These large, fresh strawberries are stuffed with a homeade cheesecake mixture made from mascarpone cheese, with a hint of vanilla and lemon flavor. They're drizzled with white chocolate and topped with graham crackers for the full cheesecake experience. But because they're bite-sized, you get your cheesecake fix in a smaller portion.

If you don't have mascarpone cheese, you can substitute cream cheese in an equal amount. Because it isn't as sweet as mascarpone, taste the cheesecake mixture when you're done mixing and decide if you want to add an extra spoonful or two of sugar before you stuff the strawberries.

Yield: 12 large strawberries

Ingredients:

  • 2 sheets graham crackers
  • 8 ounces mascarpone cheese
  • 3 tbsp powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Zest of 1/2 lemon
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 12 extra-large strawberries
  • 1/4 cup chopped white chocolate or white chocolate chips

Preparation:

1. Put the graham crackers in a plastic bag and roll over them with a rolling pin until they are in small crumbs. It's okay to have a few larger chunks as well. Set aside for now.

2. Place the mascarpone cheese into a small bowl and add the powdered sugar, vanilla extract, lemon zest, and salt. Stir until all the ingredients are incorporated and the cheese is smooth.

3. Wash the strawberries and pat them dry with paper towel. Use a small, sharp paring knife to cut a circle around the top of the strawberry to remove the stem. If the strawberry doesn't have a wide opening inside, use the knife to enlarge the hole a bit.

4. Place the cheesecake mixture into a piping bag fitted with a 1/2-inch round tip. Alternately, you can place it in a large zip-top bag and cut a small hole in the corner.

5. Squeeze the cheesecake mixture out of the bag into the center of a strawberry, then continue squeezing until you form a swirl of cheesecake on top. Sprinkle graham cracker crumbs on top of the cheesecake.

6. Continue to assemble the strawberries until all of them are stuffed with cheesecake and topped with graham crackers.

7. Melt the white chocolate in a small bowl in the microwave, stirring frequently so it doesn't overheat. Spoon it into a plastic bag and cut a small hole in the corner. Drizzle the melted white chocolate over the strawberries.

8. Place the berries in the refrigerator until the white chocolate is set. Store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Cheesecake-Stuffed Strawberries are best enjoyed the same day they're made.

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