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My first introduction to the concept of filling a strawberry with the flavors of cheesecake was featuring a post by Nutmeg Nanny many Fridays ago. When I finally got serious about making these little gems for a bridal shower, there were tweaks to the recipe I could not resist—lemon zest is a must in cheesecake—and they were absolutely fabulous. Juicy, ripe strawberries dressed in flavors of cheesecake, graham cracker, and chocolate create a beautiful presentation and a memorable dessert for Valentine’s Day, a shower, or any gathering.
Here we use both white and dark Ghirardelli chocolate to accent these luscious gems—the dot of chocolate creates a delicious platform to hold them upright. Go ahead and make the cheesecake filling in advance and refrigerate to save a step when you’re ready to assemble. Once the strawberries are prepped and the chocolate is melted, the assembly goes quickly. Of course, it may take one or two to get the hang of it … you’ll just have to eat any “ugly” ones yourself (that’s part secret, part confession). 😉
To adjust the recipe below for an intimate date night dessert or personal gift for someone special, follow these approximate measurements (the size of the strawberries will vary):
6 strawberries, stem and core removed, bottom trimmed flat, dry
1/4 teaspoon lemon zest, minced fine
1 1/2 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 teaspoons powdered sugar, or honey
1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-2 teaspoons crushed graham cracker or cookies
2 tablespoons each of white and/or dark chocolate (3-4 tablespoons total), chopped or in chips, melted
Note: The melted chocolate helps support the strawberries, but they will stand up without the chocolate so long as the bottom is trimmed flat.
Cheesecake Strawberries with Chocolate Accents
- Prep Time: 30 mins
- Total Time: 30 mins
- Yield: Approximately 30 Stuffed Berries
- Category: Dessert, Fruit
- 2 pounds strawberries — stem and core removed, bottom trimmed flat
- 2 teaspoons lemon zest — minced fine
- 8 ounces cream cheese — softened
- 3 tablespoons powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 squares *graham crackers or Milano cookies — crushed fine
- 1 cup white or dark chocolate — chopped or in chips, melted
- *for gluten-free, use gluten-free graham crackers or cookies
- Rinse strawberries and dry well. Trim the cap and hull strawberry with a paring knife, creating a small pocket. In order to stand the berries upright, trim the bottom of the strawberry creating a flat base.
- Combine cream cheese, powdered sugar, lemon zest, and vanilla with a mixer until creamed and fluffy. Add cream cheese mix to piping bag or large Ziploc bag with a small piece of the bottom corner cut off. Set aside.
- Melt chocolate in a double boiler or according to package directions. Place a dime-size amount of chocolate on a baking sheet or tray lined with wax paper. Place a strawberry on top of chocolate and cooling until chocolate hardens. This chocolate base adds stability to the strawberries, especially in transport.
- Using a piping bag or Ziploc bag (see note), fill strawberries with the cream cheese filling.
- Sprinkle with crushed graham crackers. Accent with chocolate to finish the strawberries. Allow chocolate to harden or set.
Strawberries kept in the refrigerator will sweat in a warm room. Remove from refrigeration well in advance to allow time for the berries to come to room temperature and dry well before dipping in chocolate or filling so the moisture doesn’t prevent the chocolate from sticking.
To use a Ziploc bag for piping: Spoon filling into bag and press toward a bottom corner. Snip the corner off the bag with a pair of scissors and squeeze filling through the hole to fill the berries.