"What's for dessert?"
It's a question parents hear again and again, day in and day out. And though kids may hope for a response along the lines of "Oh, a big bowl of candy!" or "all-you-can-eat brownies," adults know that's not the smartest tactic—at least, not every night.
But because a bowl of blueberries or a handful of cut-up apple just doesn't feel dessert-y enough, the question remains: How can parents make fruit really feel like dessert? Below: three creative ideas.
① Fruit Salad on a Stick
Fruit salad on a stick is just what it sounds like: pieces of fruit arranged on a skewer. Skewers may look like boring wooden sticks, but they're in fact magical kitchen tools that make everything more exciting—especially when you let kids create their own concoctions. Put out bowls of fruit and the skewers—or chopsticks, if you're worried about sharp points—and let everyone spear away.
Use whatever's in season and whatever looks stab-able; pineapple, melon, strawberries, pitted cherries, grapes and sliced bananas are all shoo-ins. Be sure to slice apples, pears and other fruit that tends to brown quickly at the very last minute. Serve skewers solo or with sweetened yogurt for dipping (see below).
② Berries with Sweetened Yogurt
A bowl of berries is nice, but a bowl of berries with sweetened yogurt—akin to whipped cream but heftier, tangier and more nutritious—is dessert. Try 1 percent, 2 percent or full-fat yogurt; Greek works best.
It's simple: Just mix 1 cup of Greek yogurt with 1 tablespoon of confectioners' sugar (to taste) and ½ teaspoon of vanilla extract. Toss 4 cups of berries in 1 to 2 teaspoons of granulated sugar, and top with the yogurt mixture.
③ Chocolate-Dipped Strawberries
A little chocolate never hurts—especially when paired with fresh strawberries.
For these, you'll need a 12-ounce bag of milk or semisweet chocolate chips and 2 pints of strawberries.
Line a baking sheet with waxed or parchment paper. In a deep, microwave-safe bowl, microwave the chocolate chips, making sure to keep a close eye on them and and giving the chocolate a stir every 20 seconds or so. When the chips are melted, give the bowl one final stir so everything feels smooth.
Using tongs or your fingers, dip the strawberries into the melted chocolate until they're coated about three-quarters of the way up. Let the excess chocolate drip off, then place the newly dipped berries on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Allow to cool at room temperature for 15 minutes; if it's warm or humid, put them in the fridge, then transfer them to a covered container, where they'll last about a day.
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