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Strawberries Macerated in Balsamic-Orange Liqueur with Chocolate-Dipped Almond Biscotti

Serves 4

Do not let the long title of this recipe fool you. This fruit dessert is very easy, thanks to store-bought biscotti. One year, I had received a gift bag at Christmas with the best biscotti I had ever tasted. They were almond-based, and dipped in dark chocolate. I took a chance and looked for the same brand at my local grocery store and found them. So, I started to buy them for an occasional quick and light dessert.

That same year, starting in February, my store had the best fresh strawberries. They were from Florida, but every bit as good as local berries, if not better. (It seems that the local berries are being bred for a larger size and sometimes the flavor is not as good.) Anyhow, the first week I bought the strawberries, I decided to macerate them in balsamic vinegar, which I have done before. After tasting, I was not totally satisfied. So, as I had also done before, I added some orange liqueur. Oh my, the combination of the vinegar and liqueur was awesome. All it needed was a little sugar, since the berries were fairly sweet on their own. When I served them, I thought something in the form of cake or cookie would be a nice addition. So, I added a biscotti on the side. The almond and the little bit of chocolate complemented the strawberries perfectly. And there was enough juice in the bottom of the serving bowls in which to dip the biscotti. Now I serve this often for a quick, easy, elegant and healthy dessert.

Ingredients

Cut the strawberries into halves or quarters, depending on the size. Place about one-half cup into a large bowl and mash with a potato masher or fork to release some of the juices. Add the remaining berries, then the sugar, vinegar and liqueur. Stir well to combine. Taste for sweetness and, if needed, add more sugar. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, or up to 8 hours. Place in individual serving bowls, adding some of the juices to each. Place one biscotti vertically inside each bowl. Serve immediately.

Notes: These strawberries are equally good leftover for the next day. They will be just a little softer. They are also very good over pound cake or traditional shortcake, topped with a little whipped cream. Substitute orange juice for the liqueur for a kid-friendly version.