Although it’s not technically strawberry season quite yet, the plump red berries have been juicy, sweet, and downright delicious lately; and they take center stage in these delectable little treats.
The “cheesecake” filling is comprised of neufchâtel (reduced fat) cream cheese, a touch of vanilla extract, and this glorious apple juice-sweetened strawberry spread:
I prefer jams/preserves that contain no added sugar, and this Rigoni di Asiago Fiordifrutta fits the bill perfectly! It is everything you want in a strawberry spread, minus the sugar.
These cheesecake stuffed strawberries would be perfect as a healthy Easter dessert, part of a Mother’s Day brunch spread, or as a sweet everyday snack. You could add some graham cracker crumbs sprinkled on top in keeping with the cheesecake theme, but they are perfectly tasty unadorned.
*I received free product in exchange for this review & recipe. All opinions are my own.
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 0 minutes
In a food processor, combine the softened neufchâtel, Fiordifrutta, and vanilla extract. Process until smooth & fully combined.
Snip the corner off of a zip top plastic bag, spoon in the strawberry cheesecake filling, and let chill in the fridge for at least an hour.
Cut the green tops off of the strawberries, as well as a bit of the bottom (tip) end so they can stand upright. Carefully hollow out the insides of the strawberries to create a space to pipe in the cheesecake filling.
When the cheesecake filling has chilled and firmed up a bit, pipe it into the hollowed out strawberries. Either serve immediately, or transfer to a container with an airtight lid and store in the fridge.
This recipe was originally entitled “Mocha Chip Banana Bread”, but despite adding both espresso powder and brewed coffee to the batter, the coffee flavor was lost after baking. What the double dose of coffee DID do, however, was enhance the chocolate flavor of the bread. So, Double Chocolate Banana Bread it is!
Chocolate seems to be its own food group for me these days, as it’s part of my daily food intake. I try to keep a bag of Guittard extra dark chocolate chips in stock at all times for baking and snacking… but I found myself with an empty bag last week (the horror!) and had to get my chocolate fix by mixing a small spoonful of instant cocoa powder into Greek yogurt. It was surprisingly tasty.
With this quick bread, I (and you) can healthfully satiate a chocolate craving first thing in the morning! A mere 1/2 cup of unrefined maple syrup is all the added sugar you need if you use overripe bananas (with brown skins). If you’re used to more of a cake-like quick bread when it comes to sweetness, you can increase the amount to 3/4 cup, but I really think it’s sweet enough with 1/2 cup.
A light sprinkling of dark chocolate chips on top adds a bit of decadence, but be forewarned, you will have to fend off an intense temptation to pick them all off before the bread has even cooled down from baking!
If you’re thinking that a slice of this chocolate banana bread would be even better with a drizzle of peanut butter, then we are on the same wavelength. There is no better flavor combination!
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 60 minutes
- 1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
- 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 Tbsp instant espresso powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp Kosher salt
- 1 cup mashed overripe bananas (about 3 medium-sized bananas)
- 1/3 cup neutral-flavored vegetable oil (I used safflower oil)
- 1/2 strongly brewed coffee, cooled
- 1/2 cup pure maple syrup (or 3/4 cup for a more cake-like sweetness)
- 1 large egg, preferably organic, lightly beaten
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1/3 cup dark chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan with parchment paper. Leave enough overhanging the edges of the pan for easy removal after baking.
In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, espresso powder, baking soda, and salt.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk mashed bananas, oil, brewed coffee, maple syrup, egg, and vanilla extract until well-combined.
Add dry ingredients to wet and stir just until combined.
Pour batter into prepared pan. Evenly sprinkle the chocolate chips over the top.
Bake for 50-60 minutes, or until a wooden tester (or toothpick) inserted into the center of the cake comes out mostly clean (a few moist crumbs are ok).
Let loaf sit in pan for 10 minutes before lifting out using the overhanging edges of parchment paper. Allow to cool completely on a wire rack before slicing.