Introduction: Paradise Strawberries

This dish makes a wonderful addition to Valentine's Day, or any day.  Quick and easy, they make a sweet treat for the special people in your life, with the added bonus that you can make them yourself.

Step 1: Ingredients

1lb fresh strawberries
8oz cream cheese (Philadelphia brand is the best)
4oz real dairy sour scream
1/2 cup powdered sugar - sifted
1/4-1/2 tsp almond extract

Optional Garnishes:
Grated Chocolate
Slivered or Sliced Almonds

Step 2: Prepare the Strawberries

Rinse the strawberries thoroughly and dry.  You can leave the hulls on, or cut them off, as desired.  Off does make them stand more easily.

Using a thin pairing knife, cut a deep X through the tip of each berry, but be sure not to cut completely through.

Set the berries aside till later.

Step 3: Prepare the Filling

Mix the cream cheese and sour cream in a bowl with a hand mixer.  Add the powdered sugar and almond extract.  Beat until well mixed.

Step 4: Fill the Strawberries

To fill the strawberries, we use a piping bag with a star tip.  However, if you don't have one, you can load the filling into a sandwich bag and cut a small amount off of one corner to pipe the filling with.

Whichever method you use, pipe the filling into the berries.

Place the filled berries onto a cookie sheet or platter, and put them in to chill until serving time.

Step 5: Garnish and Enjoy

Before serving, if desired, grate some chocolate or add a sliver of almond.

Serve and enjoy!

Step 6: Variations

Some other great ideas to mix it up:

Mix some cocoa powder into the filling

Replace the almond extract with rum extract or mint extract

Instead of cutting the X, hull the strawberries and pull out the core.  Use a filling with mint instead of almond extract to fill the hollow, then recreate the hull using young mint leaves.

Use fresh raspberries instead of strawberries

The possibilities are virtually endless.  Don't be afraid to experiment.

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