When I think back to the summers of my childhood, I remember hopping on my bike after breakfast, and not returning home ’til dinner. Tossing then collecting dive rings at the local pool for hours on end. Chasing crawfish out from underneath creek rocks, but being too afraid they’d pinch my fingertips to put my whole heart into catching them.
Every week during the summer, my Mom would let my brothers and me each pick out a packet of Kool-Aid from the dazzling display at the grocery store to sip on during the week. Although Purplesaurus Rex, Surfin’ Berry Punch, “blue”, and “red” were all very tempting, plain ‘ol Lemonade was usually my first choice. Tart, sweet, and totally thirst quenching, I always looked forward to a big ol’ cup of it after playing outside all day.
There’s still nothing as refreshing as a frosty glass of lemonade (perhaps with a shot of sweet tea vodka?) after a hot day in the sun, but these days I’m also enjoying the sweet, summertime flavor in dessert form with No-Bake Strawberry Lemonade Bites.
With a texture somewhere between a custard, pudding, and jello, No-Bake Strawberry Lemonade Bites are tart, sweet, creamy, and taste exactly like a glass of lemonade accented with the fresh taste of strawberries.
They’re perfect for a portion controlled sweet treat and, best of all, there’s no baking involved!
Start the No-Bake Strawberry Lemonade Bites by making the graham cracker crust for the bottom of the bites. Add 4 sheets graham crackers into the bowl of a food processor (a blender would probably work) then process until they’re fine like sand.
Next add 2 Tablespoons melted butter, and 1 Tablespoon brown sugar to the crumbs.
Pulse until everything is combined.
Next, bust out some mini muffin tins. I use these babies all the time for everything from Mini Ham & Cheese Quinoa Cups, to Mini Corn Dog Muffins, and Mini Orange-Glazed Poppyseed Muffins. Everything just seems to taste better in mini form, me thinks.
Spray the muffin tins with non-stick spray, then spoon 1 heaping teaspoon graham cracker mixture into each cup, pressing down firmly with a flat-bottomed shot glass to form the crust.
Pop the tins into the fridge while you make the lemonade-flavored filling for the bites!
Start the filling by creaming together 8oz 1/3 less fat cream cheese that’s SUPER soft, with 14oz fat-free sweetened condensed milk, and 1/4 cup egg beaters’ egg whites, until light and fluffy. Make sure your cream cheese is VERY SOFT before mixing, or risk a lumpy batter. Arg!
Next beat in 1 teaspoon lemon zest, and 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice (about 4 lemons worth.) This is what makes the bites taste like lemonade!
Finally, dissolve 2 teaspoons powdered gelatin in 3 Tablespoons boiling water.
I heated a cup of water in the microwave for about a minute, then spooned it over the gelatin and whisked with a fork. Let the mixture cool for about 2 minutes, then beat it into the filling mixture.
Grab the mini muffin tins from the fridge and spoon a heaping Tablespoon of the filling into each cup, then pop them back in the fridge for at least 8 hours to firm up.
When you’re ready to devour, run a small sharp knife around the outside of the bites, pop them out of the tins, then top with half a strawberry each. No-Bake Strawberry Lemonade Bites are served!
No-Bake Strawberry Lemonade Bites
Makes 24 bites
Adapted from Ellie Krieger
For the crust:
4 graham cracker sheets (8 squares)
2 Tablespoons melted butter
1 Tablespoon brown sugar
For the filling:
8oz-1/3 less fat cream cheese, very (very!) soft
14oz can fat-free sweetened condensed milk
1/4 cup egg beaters all whites, or regular egg beaters
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice (about 4 lemons)
2 teaspoons powdered gelatin
3 Tablespoons boiling water
12 small strawberries, sliced in half
- Place graham crackers into a food processor and process until very fine. Add butter and brown sugar then process to combine. Spray 2 mini muffin tins well with non-stick spray, then spoon 1 heaping teaspoon graham cracker mixture into each cup. Press down firmly with a flat-bottomed shot glass to form the crust, then place muffin tins into the fridge.
- In a large bowl, beat together softened cream cheese, sweetened condensed milk, and egg beaters until smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes. Add lemon zest and juice and beat until fully combined. In a small bowl whisk together powdered gelatin and boiling water until dissolved. Let cool for 2 minutes, then beat into the cream cheese mixture.
- Fill each mini muffin tin cup to the top with the filling, then place in the refrigerator to firm up for at least 8 hours, or overnight. Run a small knife around the outside of each cup to pop it out of the mini muffin tin then top with half a strawberry. Store in the refrigerator.
Seriously love the cooling flavor of these mini bites!
The strawberry on top totally makes ‘em, and I just love the tartness from the fresh lemon juice and zest. Great for kids, and kids at heart!
Hope you like ‘em!
What were your favorite parts about summer as a kid?