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NORTHWOODS COOKS: Savor summer strawberries

Summer sweet treat, semifreddo with forest fruits
Mixed berry ice box cake is a cool summer treat that turns fresh picked berries into a tasty dessert. This week's recipe features strawberries and blueberries, but raspberries may be included as well. Crushed nuts sprinkled on the top add a little crunch.
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July is the month when Minnesota’s strawberries are in season. Here are two dessert recipes that highlight the flavor of these delicious berries.

Mixed Berry IceBox Cake


8 ounces cream cheese softened

2 teaspoons vanilla extract


6.8 ounces instant vanilla pudding mix or 2 (3.4 oz.) boxes instant pudding mix

3 cups whole milk

16 ounces Cool Whip thawed

1 (14.4 oz.) box graham crackers, broken in half

2 pounds fresh strawberries, rinsed and divided

4 cups fresh blueberries

Beat cream cheese in a medium mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Add pudding mix, vanilla extract, and milk. Continue beating until fully combined.

Fold in 16 oz. tub of Cool Whip. Beat with a mixer until it begins to thicken. Spoon about 1/2 cup of the pudding mixture over the bottom of a 9×13 casserole dish and spread. Place a single layer of graham crackers into the dish. Spread a thin layer of the pudding mixture (about 11/8 of the mixture) over the graham crackers.


Cut stems from all of the strawberries. Slice about half of the strawberries into thin slices. Set aside the remaining whole strawberries. Top pudding layer with sliced strawberries and about 1/3 of the whole blueberries.

Add another layer of graham crackers, then another pudding layer, and another fresh berry layer. Add a third and final layer of graham crackers and the remaining pudding mixture.

To top the icebox cake, slice the remaining strawberries in half and place the halves over the top of the icebox cake. Sprinkle the remaining blueberries over the cake. Place in the freezer for at least 4 hours to set up, or in the refrigerator for 6-8 hours. Remove from the freezer 15-20 minutes before serving.

Chocolate Strawberry Shortcake


2 cups all-purpose flour

1/3 cup white sugar

1/4 cup cocoa powder


1 tablespoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup butter

1 cup milk

2 pints strawberries, sliced

1/4 cup white sugar

12-ounce container frozen whipped topping, thawed

2 tablespoons chocolate syrup

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Grease two 9 inch layer pans. In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, 1/3 cup sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Cut in butter or margarine until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add milk, mixing until just moistened. Spread batter evenly into two prepared layer pans.

Bake for 15 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool.

In a medium-size mixing bowl, combine strawberries and 1/4 cup sugar. Let the mixture stand for 10 minutes.

Cover the bottom shortcake layer with half of the strawberry mixture and half of the whipped topping. Top with the second shortcake layer, remaining strawberry mixture and whipped topping. Drizzle with chocolate topping.

Readers are invited to submit their favorite recipes to enjoy, along with a note about what makes them special. Send recipes to lskarpness@parkrapidsenterprise.com.

Readers are invited to submit their favorite recipes to enjoy, along with a note about what makes them special. Send recipes to lskarpness@parkrapidsenterprise.com.

Lorie Skarpness has lived in the Park Rapids area since 1997 and has been writing for the Park Rapids Enterprise since 2017. She enjoys writing features about the people and wildlife who call the north woods home.
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