Thursday, January 15, 2009

Mmmm. Strawberries.

Tips for Dipping Strawberries
Save loads of cash by dipping strawberries yourself. It's easy and elegant.

Leave stems and green caps on berries.

To ensure chocolate adheres to berries, make sure strawberries are free of outside moisture. Rinse, drain and carefully pat strawberries with a paper towel until dry.

Be careful. Just one drop of moisture in melted chocolate will cause chocolate to seize (clump and harden).

Chocolate-dipped strawberries are perfect for a romantic evening in, with candlelight and a bottle of wine.

Add multi-colored sprinkles or roll in coconut or chopped nuts to make chocolate-dipped strawberries even more special and delicious.

Winter Strawberry Dessert Pizza
You won't find pepperoni anywhere near this specialty dessert! A cream cheese filling is spread over a sweet crust and topped with glazed strawberries.

1 ½ cups flour
1 cup margarine, softened
½ cup chopped pecans
¼ cup brown sugar

1 (3-ounce) package strawberry gelatin
½ cup sugar
Dash salt
1 cup water (divided use)
4 tablespoons cornstarch
1 ½ pounds Florida strawberries

Filling: 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened ¾ cup powdered sugar 1 (8-ounce) container whipped topping

For crust, preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease the bottom of a 12 or 14-inch pizza pan with a small amount of butter or cooking spray. In a large bowl, combine flour, margarine, pecans and brown sugar. Mix well with fork or pastry blender. Spread mixture in pizza pan by gently pressing and spreading dough evenly with palm of hand and fingertips to form a thin crust. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown. Cool.

For filling, cream together cream cheese and powdered sugar in a large mixing bowl. Gently fold in whipped topping until thoroughly blended. Spread over cooled crust.
For topping, combine gelatin, sugar, salt and ½ cup of the water in a medium saucepan. Dissolve cornstarch in remaining water. Stir into gelatin mixture. Cook over medium heat until thickened, stirring frequently. Allow topping to cool to room temperature.

Remove caps from strawberries, wash, drain and slice in half lengthwise. Add strawberries to gelatin mixture and place in the refrigerator to chill for about 30 minutes. Spread topping on top of cream cheese layer and chill in a refrigerator for an hour before serving. Makes 10-12 servings.

Short-Cut Method: Crust: Purchase one (18-ounce) tube refrigerated slice-and-bake sugar cookie dough. Bring to room temperature. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Remove ends of package with a sharp knife and cut open along seam. Remove cookie dough from wrapper and place directly onto a 14 or 16-inch pizza pan. Form a crust directly in pizza pan by gently pressing and spreading dough evenly with palm of hand and fingertips. Bake at 350 degrees for about 8-10 minutes or until golden brown. Cool.

Filling: 1 container (24.3 ounces) ready-to-eat cheesecake filling (brought to room temperature)
When cookie dough crust is thoroughly cooled, top with cheesecake filling mixture as you would a pizza. Refrigerate for about 30 minutes or until chilled.

Note: If a lighter texture is desired, place prepared cheesecake filling in a large mixing bowl and fold in 1 container (8-ounces) whipped topping (thawed). There may be some mixture remaining. Don’t worry. Any leftovers will be a welcomed surprise.

Topping: Prepare topping as noted above. Return to refrigerator to chill an additional hour before serving. Makes 10-12 servings.