Tag Archives: Broadway

Cheesecake-stuffed Strawberry Bites


Heading into Memorial Day weekend, our Backstage Baker offers up this scrumptious recipe.  In fact, it’s so easy, it’s almost hard to call it a recipe!

But first, don’t forget to watch the Tony Awards on Sunday, June 11, 2017 — Indecent is nominated for Best Play, Best Director (Rebecca Taichman) and Best Lighting (Christopher Akerlind.)  Just for fun, here’s a link to a post on The Skriker, a show that Chris lit at the Public many moons ago.

Also, don’t forget that James’ previous show Jitney is also nominated for several Tony Awards this season!  You have to wonder if he sprinkles magic dust on his shows, right?  Maybe it’s just all the baking . . .

But back to these cheesecake-stuffed strawberry bites!  This is a super easy dessert to throw together. Great for parties and week end celebrations. And now strawberries are in season, it’s the perfect time to make them.

Cheesecake Stuffed Strawberry Bites


1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 pint fresh strawberries, washed, then hulled and cored
Almond cookies crushed (or for a more traditional taste use crushed graham crackers)
Half cup dark chocolate pieces melted


Beat cream cheese, confectioners’ sugar, and vanilla extract together in a bowl until smooth; spoon into a piping bag or a resealabe bag with a corner snipped.
Fill cavities of cored strawberries with the cream cheese mixture. Dip filled side of strawberries in the crushed graham crackers to coat. Drizzle with dark chocolate.

KAtrina LenkKatrina Lenk and Adina Verson try the Stuffed Strawberries (Katrina will also star in next season’s THE BAND’S VISIT)

Tom Nelis
Tom Nelis (left) enjoying the wine while discussing his role with understudy Ben Cherry (center) as understudy Eleanor Reissa looks on.

Red Wine Brownies

Red Wine Brownie1Yup, you read that right — RED WINE in your Brownies.  How’s that for multi-tasking??

Sadly, the Time to Kill cast needed a lot of red wine last Sunday as their closing notice went up the following Tuesday.  So, if you haven’t had a chance to see the show, hurry on down because their last performance will be Sunday, November 17.

Anyone who’s in theater knows full well that it’s call “Show Business”, not “Show Art”  or “Show The Audiences Love it.”  Nope, it’s a business, pure and simple, and if the people aren’t buying tickets, the show can’t be sustained.  Sigh.  It’s always such a shame to see all that hard work end so abruptly but those are the breaks, folks.  No doubt everyone, our Backstage Baker included, will be quickly moving on to other projects.  Let’s send them all our very best mojo!

Now, on to the red wine brownie recipe:

Red Wine Brownies


5 oz. unsweetened chocolate , melted
(or 1 cup cocoa + 4 tbs oil)
1-1/2 stick butter (3/4 cup)
1 cup cake flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1-1/2 cup sugar
2 tbsp. superfine sugar
2 large egg
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 bottle (23.5 oz) dark red wine (zin/syrah/merlot/etc)
1/4 cup brandy


1.  In a saucepan, combine wine and 1/2 cup sugar. Stir to dissolve and bring to a rolling boil. Reduce heat and simmer until reduced to about 1/2 cup. Let cool.

2.  Preheat oven to 350.  Combine cake flour, baking powder, and salt into a mixing bowl. 

3.  Stir together chocolate and butter. When chocolate mixture is smooth, whisk in remaining sugar, then eggs one at a time. Fold into flour mixture until loosely combined.

4.  Fold in wine syrup and stir until most lumps have disappeared.

5.  Pour into 9×13″ greased and floured brownie pan.

6.  Bake 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. (Better undercooked than overcooked.)  When cool, combine superfine sugar with brandy and brush over brownies. 

7.  I then drizzled melted white chocolate over the top for a dramatic effect.  (Of course you did, James!  Because red wine and chocolate simply wasn’t enough!!)

IN A HURRY? Cheat. Use Brownie Mix, but add a cup of good dark chocolate chips or chunks or shavings, replace the water with the red wine syrup, and replace the vegetable oil with good old fashioned butter.