Creamy vanilla parfaits with layers of fresh strawberries, fudgy brownies & a buttery shortbread crust. So sophisticated but secretly healthy!
Last Sunday, I strapped our 15-pound Chihuahua into her harness, grabbed a bright orange “treat” bag, and headed out the door. We strolled through the park—our daily routine—although it looked fairly empty, especially for a warm weekend afternoon. But judging by the aroma of fresh charcoal and salty grease wafting over the wooden fences, all of our neighbors were probably grilling burgers in their backyards instead.
As we neared the end of the grassy fields, a very large bumblebee decided to take a break from buzzing around and pollinating flowers. He stopped to rest squarely on my chest, and I desperately tried not to hyperventilate, seeing as heavy breathing would probably annoy the stripey guy. Yet after a few very tense moments, he still hadn’t budged, which sent my brain into panic mode.
I leaned over a little bit, hoping the subtle movement of my tank top’s fabric would tempt him to leave, but he grabbed onto my long hair instead. Out of sheer desperation, I nudged him a teensy tiny bit with my cell phone—no way was I going to touch the guy with my hand!
Of course, that set him off, and he acted like he was king of my dark blonde locks, angrily buzzing around my head like I had invaded his territory and threatening to poke his sharp stinger into any patch of bare skin he could find. Absolutely terrified, I dropped my dog’s leash and sprinted off down the path faster than if I was competing for the Olympic Gold in the 100-meter dash, screaming and shouting and waving my arms.
The pesky bee chased after me for a good 30 yards, circling and buzzing loudly in both my ears. But he finally tired—he wasn’t used to flying half a football field’s length after his flowers for pollen!—and flew off to inspect someone’s budding pink blooms instead.
I cautiously turned around after he left, and our little pup was perched in the middle of the path 50 yards behind me with her head cocked to the side, trying to figure out if she really wanted to follow that crazy girl home. I eventually convinced her to finish our walk, and as we circled back down the street, I texted my guy: “I’m never baking with honey or fresh fruit again!”
I held out on the honey (well, at least until tomorrow’s recipe testing), but when Walkers’s latest treats arrived on my doorstep, I just couldn’t resist the classic combination of buttery shortbread and juicy strawberries! I chose their Mini Scottie Dog Shortbread for today’s recipe, and Walkers is offering all AHB readers an exclusive 20% off discount using the code FSSPRING2014 on their purchase of any regular sale items from their website until March 27th. You can’t go wrong with any of their goodies; I’ve fallen in love with everything I’ve sampled!
Inspired by Glory’s heavenly new cookbook of layered desserts, I created these sweet Strawberry Brownie Shortbread Parfaits. They look so sophisticated with their buttery no-bake shortbread crust, decadent fudgy brownie chunks, and fresh juicy strawberries sandwiched between layers of creamy vanilla yogurt. But it can be our little secret that they’re surprisingly healthy and take less than 20 minutes to make!
You’ll start by baking the brownie. It’s my favorite single-serving one that you make in the microwave, and it still comes out really fudgy, dark and decadent. Perfect for chocoholics like me! If you prefer your brownies a little sweeter, add a tiny bit more agave; it shouldn’t affect the bake time. Make sure you cook it at 40% power! To create extra fudgy brownies, you bake them low and slow in the oven, so that’s what we’re doing in the microwave too. Let it cool completely before slicing it into small cubes.
While the brownie cools, start on the easy no-bake shortbread crust. It’s just 2 ingredients: Walkers Mini Scottie Dogs Shortbread and applesauce! Simply crumble up the cookies and mix them with the applesauce—that’s it! And I promise it does not taste like apples. The shortbread is incredibly buttery and covers up the applesauce, creating an irresistible indulgent layer at the bottom of the parfait glass.
For the vanilla base, I opted for Greek yogurt instead of pudding to make these desserts a little healthier. It’s still thick and creamy, but it contains a lot more protein and much less fat or sugar. I always store a big container of plain nonfat Greek yogurt in my fridge, and I sweetened it with a touch of Truvia and vanilla extract for these parfaits. To take a little shortcut, you could easily substitute vanilla Greek yogurt instead.
Try to choose parfait glasses with a narrower bottom to make the crust layer slightly thicker. If you only own wide ramekins, you can double the crust (but remember that the Nutrition Information will change!). Press the crust into the bottom of each glass, and top with ¼ cup of the Greek yogurt. Place most of the strawberries and brownie chunks on top, and for a prettier presentation, make sure they’re pressed up snuggly against the side of the glass. You really want the different colors of each layer to show through! Top with the remaining yogurt, sprinkle with the remaining brownies and strawberries, and lightly dust with the leftover cookie crumbs to finish.
These elegant Strawberry Brownie Shortbread Parfaits look incredibly impressive, but they’re unbelievably easy to make! With their creamy filling, juicy fruit, and decadent brownie bits, they’ll satisfy anyone’s sweet tooth—especially with that buttery shortbread crust on the bottom. Requiring less than 20 minutes to make, these sophisticated desserts are the perfect guilt-free way to end your meal on any night of the week!
As part of the celebration of my blog’s new name, I’m giving away an assortment of Walkers Shortbread to one lucky reader! If you win, you’ll receive…
♥ Walkers Shortbread Rounds
♥ Stem Ginger Biscuits (“Cookies,” in the US)
♥ Scottie Dog Shortbread
♥ Assorted Animal-Shaped Shortbread
♥ And the Mini Scottie Dog Shortbread I used for this recipe!
To enter the giveaway, follow the prompts in the Rafflecopter box below. (It sometimes takes a few moments to load.) Good luck!
Note: To enter the giveaway, first sign in using Facebook –OR– your email address. The entry options will appear after you’ve signed in.
*Walkers Shortbread Giveaway will be open until 11:59 PM Pacific Time on March 27, 2014. US & Canada residents only. Winner will be emailed and will have 48 hours to respond, or else a new winner will be selected.
*Disclaimer: Walkers Shortbread shipped me these products free-of-charge. All text, photographs, recipe, and opinions are my own.
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