Monday, September 1, 2014

Summer Favorites

After surviving one of the most dreadful winters on record, we are trying hard to hang onto summer as long as we can.  I know it's the same for a lot of you!  We entertained a bit over this long, holiday weekend, and I thought I'd share a couple of the desserts I served that are perfect for a warm summer night!  (Or, quite frankly, any 'ol time!)

Chocolate Dipped Strawberries with Cheesecake Filling
I took this dessert to a party last weekend, and served them again at my house this weekend.  Both times, they were a huge hit!  Best thing is they're really easy.... here's how to make them.
(Click here for a printer friendly, downloadable recipe for Chocolate Dipped Strawberries with Cheesecake Filling.)

 Clean and hull 24-30 fresh strawberries.  Try to get them as large as you can.  I placed them upside down on paper towels to dry.  It's important to have dry strawberries.  

Cut a slice off the bottom making them flat so they'll stand when filled.  Place them on a cookie sheet lined with either wax paper or parchment paper.  

In a double boiler, melt half a bag of Ghirardelli 60% Bittersweet chocolate chips.  

Place them back on the wax or parchment paper.  When all have been dipped, place the cookie sheet in the freezer for 5 minutes to quickly set the chocolate.

With a mixer, combine an 8 oz package of softened cream cheese, 1/3 cup powdered sugar and 1 tsp vanilla until smooth and creamy.  Place in a pastry bag (or zip loc bag with corner cut) and pipe the filling into each strawberry.  

Garnish each with 5-6 mini chocolate chips and refrigerate until ready to serve.  Easy, isn't it?!!

Caramel Apple Grapes
Most of you probably know about these bite-sizes bits of yum, but just in case some of you don't know about these little treats, you really need to try these, too.  If you like caramel apples, you'll love these because, unbelievably, these three ingredients taste just like eating a caramel apple!  
(Click here for a printer friendly, downloadable recipe for Caramel Apple Grapes.)

Wash and dry a bunch of green, seedless grapes.  (Make as few or as many as you'd like!  Be warned, you can't stop eating them!)  Melt some vanilla almond bark either in a double boiler or in the microwave.  Spear each grape with a toothpick, dunk into the melted almond bark, and roll in chopped peanuts.  Set on a serving plate and refrigerate.  That's it!  Tastes just like a little bite of caramel apple and the perfect pairing of salty and sweet.  Yum, yum, and oh so refreshing enjoying a cool dessert on a warm summer night.  

One more thing I have been enjoying this summer is this delicious Blushberry iced tea from Tazo.  When Lynne and I were visiting the Patchwork Garden Quilt Shop in NY, shop owners Joan and Bev served this wonderful iced tea. Now, to know me is to know I am an iced-tea junkie, and am very particular about my iced tea, too.  Has to be fresh brewed.  This is delicioso!!  Hard to find, but Target has it in our area.  

So, thanks for visiting my blog, and I hope at least one of my summer favorites piques your interest.  Give them a try while summer is still here.  

Fall is by far my favorite season, and while I look forward to it, I'm not hurrying the seasons along.  

Enjoy your day off and hope you do something you love!
(Hhmmm, like eat and sew?!)


  1. I am so going to do those strawberries.
    As for the grapes. What is vanilla almond bark?????

  2. OMGosh!!! Those strawberries look soooooooo decadent! :-) I'll look for the tea too... thanks so much!

  3. Those strawberries look wicked! My goodness, you are a wizard with the quilts--and in the kitchen!

  4. Jo, vanilla almond bark is like a candy coating. It also comes in chocolate. It may be a bit hard to find right now, but is easier to get around the holidays. It often comes in a big bar like a giant Hershey bar. This time, it was sold in a package of little "tubs". You'll find it in the grocery aisle with the chocolate chips.

  5. Those strawberries look so colorful and .... Red! LOL Very pretty and very yummy looking!

  6. how mouth watering those strawberries are grapes too look very appertising

  7. Oh my gosh, this is yummie!

    Nana from Germany