School starts this week for us, and so even though we're still having summer weather, mentally it feels like summer is over. So this dessert, which is unbelievably good, feels like the last taste of summer to me.
We're lucky enough to live near some u-pick raspberry farms that produce fall berries, which means the season is just gearing up and we'll be able to pick fresh raspberries all the way through October. I love raspberries. I really do. But I'm cheap, and I won't buy them at the grocery store (except for the occasional treat). But when we can pick them for $3 a pound, we go a little crazy. And this dessert is worth going crazy for.
Yes, it's a little like a traditional fruit pizza: the crust is a sugar cookie, the middle layer is cream cheesy, and there's fruit on top. But it's so much better than your normal old fruit pizza. Instead of refrigerated cookie dough, (which can make a cakey cookie), we start with a quick homemade dough that results soft cookie with a hint of a shortbread-like crunch on the edges. Top that with a super simple homemade cream cheese/sugar filling, then beautiful berries, and then a drizzle of dark chocolate, and you have a dessert that looks and tastes like something from a high end New York bakery.
Of course you can leave the chocolate off, if you really want to.
You could even give some away to friends or neighbors that need a little lift. Or you could just eat them all yourself...
It's the perfect fancy last taste of summer dessert. (BTW, you can bake the cookies in advance and freeze them, then just thaw them on the counter for an hour or so and compile the tarts in time for the big family Labor Day picnic.)
Chocolate Raspberry Sugar Cookie Tart Recipe
Bake and cool sugar cookies (as directly below). Beat together 8 oz softened cream cheese, 1 C sugar, and 1 t vanilla. Spread generously on 18-24 cookies. Top with fresh berries and drizzle with melted semi sweet chocolate. (Melt your chocolate in the microwave, stirring every 30 seconds, then pour into a ziplock back. Snip open one corner for easy drizzling.)
Sugar Gems Cookie Recipe *makes 48
1 cup powdered sugar
1 cup sugar
1 cup oil
1 cup butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla
5 cups flour
1 tsp cream of tarter
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
Mix all ingredients well. Roll into golf-ball sized balls and roll in granulated sugar. Use a small cup to flatten the balls. Bake at 350 for 11-13 minutes, until edges are set but not brown!
Recipe source: The Sister's Cafe
Golf-ball size cookies above, flattening with a cup below (this is so much simpler than rolling out the dough and cutting out with cookie cutters, and it results in a cute decorative edge).
Here's what they look like when they are done - still mostly white, with maybe the teeniest hint of golden along the edges - if they get at all brown they will be very crunchy. You can touch the edge of a cookie and feel that it's pretty firm and dry when it's done baking.
I hope you have a reason between now and the true end of summer to splurge on a fun dessert. And take a minute to see if there are any u-pick farms close (raspberries and peaches are on now in many parts of the country, and apples will be coming soon!) - it's a great family activity, even for very young kids.
Linking to some of these great parties:
Weekend: Tatertots and Jello