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Strawberry Cheesecake Cups

Mariel here. I spent the past weekend down in Asheville, NC celebrating my best friend’s wedding. I served as her (very pregnant) matron of honor and although I moved a little more slowly than usual, I managed to keep pace with the whirring, purring wedding machine. She was hand’s down one of the calmest brides I’ve ever seen – you may know your friend like the back of your hand but you can never guess how she’s gonna handle her big day. The wedding went off without a hitch – including my speech, which I really sweated over – and we were all exhausted on Sunday, just as it’s supposed to be. In the midst of all the prenuptial hullabaloo and packing for our upcoming move – on Memorial Day weekend, no less – I had very little time to do more than order takeout. Thankfully, for this month’s edition of Secret Recipe Club, I was assigned the infinitely lovable blog, Lick the Spoon, which is brimming with easy-as-pie desserts and treats. The following represents one such recipe and these little “cheescake” cups take a mere 20 minutes to divine and zero actual cooking. Plus they’re far healthier than the real deal so I was able to indulge without risking another returned bridesmaid dress. Thanks to my burgeoning belly, I had to return FOUR dresses before landing on a winner for my buddy’s big day. TGI-J.Crew customer service…

Strawberry Cheesecake Cups Adapted from Lick the Spoon

Ingredients: ½-cup low-fat cream cheese, room temp – $1.69 ~¼-cup lemon juice – stock 2 teaspoon lemon zest – $0.25 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar – stock 12 strawberries, washed, dried and hulled – $2.99 ½-cup semi-sweet chocolate chips – $3.29 1 graham cracker biscuit, ground/crushed – $3.89 Grand total assuming well-stocked kitchen: $12.11 Directions: 1. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat together the cream cheese, lemon zest and sugar. Gradually add in lemon juice until you reach a smooth consistency. 2. Carve wells into each of the hulled strawberries, deep enough to accommodate plenty of cream cheese filling. Dry the berries well so the melted chocolate will stick. 3. Use a small spoon (like a demi-tasse) to fill each of the strawberries with the cream cheese mixture. 4. Melt the chocolate chips in the microwave in 15 second intervals to avoid burning. Once smooth, dip the ends of each berry into the chocolate and place on parchment paper to set. 5. Crush the graham cracker in a food processor or using a mallet (or your hands) and sprinkle the crumbles on top of the cream cheese mixture (or the chocolate, your choice!). Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to serve (note, if you do refrigerate and wait to serve, the cream cheese will take on a pinkish tint, but they’re still very pretty)