This time of year I find any excuse I can to invite people over. Saturday afternoon football games, Friday night TGIF-ing, or just because, Autumn feels like the most inviting season of all. Halloween night, especially. Our patio always turns in to the must-be spot for family and friends. Everyone pitches in goodies for the trick-or-treaters, and we provide the turkey & black bean chili.
While a healthy dinner that fuels our party and little costume wearers, I’m always trying to find some new and exciting to serve for dessert. This year, we’re going with a crazy-kind-of-simple Pumpkin Cream Cheese Dip. Part appetizer, part dessert, wholly scrumptious, there’s nothing not to love about these seasonal creation.
Yeah, yeah, yeah, the pumpkin trend has reached a fever pitch. But the thing about this one, is that it’s real! We only use pure pumpkin puree to add REAL flavor to our recipe. Not pumpkin pie filling, no fake pumpkin garbage. Pure pumpkin puree is just that — pure pumpkin. A half-cup scoop will completely transform an otherwise ordinary block of cream cheese.
To really warm-up the flavor and make this taste as cozy and comforting as the season itself, we add only three more simple ingredients: vanilla, honey, and cinnamon. It makes this dip delicately sweet with pumpkin the feature taste.
Just whip it all together with a hand-mixer, or fold with a rubber spatula, and you’re ready to serve.
As for the dippers, we went with a homemade graham cracker. We made these Whole Wheat Almond Meal Graham Crackers. It wasn’t worth re-inventing the wheel when Chris Castro of Salt & Smoke had already crafted these perfect snack crackers. His recipes, his photos, they’re just not even fair! He is supremely talented and his recipes bring our taste buds to their knees on the regular. (I’ve also made his Bourbon Rice Krispies treats and they’re nothing short of devourable!)
The name on these crackers may sound complicated, but having made these ourselves, I can honestly say they’re super easy! We upped the adorable factor by using little fall critter cookie cutters; Chris originally made them as classic square grahams. If you do go with a smaller size or shape, watch them closely and reduce the bake time by a couple of minutes to avoid over-cooking.
1 brick neufchatel cream cheese
1/2 cup pure pumpkin puree
1/2 Tbsp. vanilla
1-2 Tbsp. honey
Dash of cinnamon and/or nutmeg
1. Add all ingredients to a large mixing bowl and combine using either a hand-mixer or by folding with a rubber spatula.
2. Cover and chill for later, or serve immediately with crackers, cookies, or dippers of your choice. We like these Whole Wheat Almond Meal Graham Crackers.
ALSO TRY THIS:
Recipe by Brandi Koskie; Photos by Kacy Meinecke for DietsInReview.com