Creamy delights


Jim Winstead, Wikimedia Commons

Adding some cream cheese to the cookie dough makes for some delicious, tender snickerdoodle cookies.

 

Cream cheese is like most foods, meaning some people absolutely love it, some are indifferent and others just flat-out do not like it at all. I happen to fall into the first category, and have been known to cut off a chunk or two right out of the wrapper and eat it plain.


If I have a good quality Italian dry salami, sliced thin, I spread a little bit on a slice and roll it up for a snack.


Another good idea that is popular in my family is to mix cream cheese with crumbled blue cheese (proportions as to your liking), mix it all up and spread it on celery stalks. Sprinkle a bit of paprika over the tops and they’re ready to serve.


Here are a few recipes I dug out of my files, so I hope you find something you’d like to try.


Cream cheese snickerdoodles


1 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature


4 ounces cream cheese, softened to room temperature


1 3/4 cup sugar


2 large eggs


1 teaspoon vanilla


3 1/4 cups flour


1 teaspoon cornstarch


1 1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar


1/2 teaspoon baking soda


3/4 teaspoon salt


1/2 teaspoon cinnamon


Topping:


1/3 cup sugar


1 tablespoon cinnamon


1. In the bowl of a stand mixer (or in a large bowl and use an electric mixer), combine butter and cream cheese and beat until mixture is creamy.


2. Add sugar and beat until light and creamy and well mixed. Add eggs and vanilla; mix well.


3. In a separate bowl, stir together flour, cornstarch, cream of tartar, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.


4. Gradually add flour mixture to butter mixture; mix until creamy. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and chill in refrigerator for about 30 minutes. When the dough has nearly finished chilling, preheat oven to 350 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Prepare the topping by thoroughly mixing the sugar and cinnamon.


5. Remove chilled dough and scoop into 1 1/2 tablespoon-sized portions. Roll into smooth balls with the palms of your hands, then roll each one into the cinnamon mixture.


6. Place on prepared baking sheet at least 2 inches apart and bake in preheated oven for 10 to 13 minutes. Cookies may still seem very soft in the center when finished baking. Allow to cool on baking sheet and they will finish baking without becoming over-baked and dry. Makes about 35 cookies.


Cream cheese banana bread


2 to 3 very ripe bananas, peeled (about 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 cups mashed)


1/3 cup melted butter, unsalted or salted


1 teaspoon baking soda


Pinch salt


3/4 cup sugar (1/2 cup if you would like it less sweet, 1 cup if you want it sweeter)


1 large egg, beaten


1 teaspoon vanilla


1 1/2 cups flour


Cream cheese filling:


8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature


1 large egg


1/4 cup sugar


2 tablespoons flour


1. Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 4-by-8-inch loaf pan.


2. In a mixing bowl, mash the ripe bananas with a fork until completely smooth. Stir the melted butter into the mashed bananas.


3. Mix in the baking soda and salt. Stir in sugar, beaten egg and vanilla. Mix in the flour.


4. In another bowl, beat together all the ingredients for the cream cheese filling.


5. Pour half of the banana bread batter in the loaf pan. Top the batter with half of the cream cheese filling, one dollop at a time. Top with remaining batter. Top with the remaining cream cheese filling one dollop at a time. Insert a butter knife about halfway into the batter and run through the batter vertically and horizontally to swirl the cream cheese into the banana bread batter.


6. Bake in preheated oven for 55 to 60 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. If the top starts to brown too much before the middle is done, tent the top with foil.


7. Cool the banana bread for a few minutes in the pan, then remove from pan and transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely. Store covered at room temperature. Makes 1 loaf.


Cream cheese frosting


4 ounces unsalted butter, softened


4 ounces cream cheese, softened


2 cups confectioners’ sugar


1 teaspoon vanilla


1. In a large bowl, beat together the butter and cream cheese with an electric mixer until well blended and smooth.


2. With the mixer on low speed, add the confectioners’ sugar 1 cup at a time. Continue mixing until smooth and creamy. Beat in the vanilla. Frost cake, cupcakes or other baked goods.


Apple toffee dip


8 ounces cream cheese, softened


1/2 cup packed light or dark brown sugar


1/4 cup white (granulated) sugar


1 teaspoon vanilla


1 cup marshmallow creme


1 package (7-oz.) English toffee bits


1. Soften cream cheese in the microwave 10 to 20 seconds, if necessary.


2. Beat together all ingredients except toffee bits until thoroughly blended. Fold in the English toffee bits.


3. Serve with crisp apple slices. Refrigerate leftovers. Can be made ahead and refrigerated. Makes about 3 cups.


Creamy veggie roll-ups


2 packages (8-oz. each) cream cheese, softened


1 envelope ranch dressing mix


4 green onions, chopped


1/3 cup black olives, chopped (about the size of a small can)


1 celery stalk, chopped


1/2 cup green bell pepper, chopped


1/2 cup red bell pepper, chopped


6 8-inch flour tortillas, flavored or plain


1. In bowl, mix cream cheese and ranch dressing together until smooth.


2. Add green onions, olives, celery and bell peppers; mix well.


3. Spread mixture evenly on the tortillas. Roll each one and wrap individually in plastic wrap. Chill rolls about 3 hours, to set.


4. Cut each roll diagonally into 1/2-inch pieces. Serve on platter.

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