Monday, December 2, 2013

Sweet Pumpkin Dip

I guess you could say that I’m not quite ready for gingerbread and peppermint. The main reason for this is that I’m usually not quite ready for anything. I still have a couple cans of pumpkin puree in the cupboard, not to mention the better part of a large butternut squash in the refrigerator. How am I supposed to use them up and/or fulfill my pumpkin recipe fantasies (barely even delved into) if I move on to warm, spiced Christmas cakes and cookies and candy?

Well, I really think this creamy, sweet dip deserves a bit of undivided attention as well as a place on a holiday party table. It tastes pleasantly of spiced and sweetened pumpkin and is smooth and thick enough to not run off of anything you dip into it. It’s quite good on apple slices and downright dangerously delicious on cinnamon-sugar pita chips. Like, really dangerous! Proceed with caution unless nobody will mind if you don’t share and the pair pants with the post-holiday waistband is waiting in your closet! (Talk about being ready for the holidays!)
This recipe also just takes a few minutes to get ready and lasts for a few days in the refrigerator. It’s also a good way to use up the remainder of a can of pumpkin that you opened for another recipe. If you do have to open a can of pumpkin puree to make this dip, however, the following recipes can help you use up the rest of the can. Each of them calls for 1 cup of pumpkin or less.

Butterscotch Pumpkin Fudge
Pumpkin Cookies with Brown Sugar Frosting
Pumpkin Cranberry Muffins
Savory Squash Bread Pudding with Bacon and Onions
Winter Squash Risotto

I may not be ready for a chocolaty, minty, gingerbread-y, cookie-dense celebration diet just yet, but dipping a few apples (or those dangerous cinnamon-sugar pita chips) in this Sweet Pumpkin Dip while I pore over a few million recipes, old and new, doesn’t sound so bad. Now, about Christmas shopping….You guessed it: not ready.

Sweet Pumpkin Dip
Adapted from Cooking Light magazine

I used 1/3 – less fat cream cheese to make this. I almost always find it to be a reasonable replacement for full-fat cream cheese, but I don’t generally recommend nonfat cream cheese.

½ cup pumpkin puree (canned is just fine)
¾ cup (6 ounces) cream cheese
½ cup brown sugar, packed
1 tablespoon maple syrup
½ teaspoon Pumpkin Pie Spice

1. Combine the pumpkin puree, cream cheese and brown sugar in a medium-size bowl.  Beat with an electric mixer at medium speed until well-blended.

2. Add the maple syrup and Pumpkin Pie Spice. Beat until very smooth. Cover and chill until ready to serve. Serve with apple slices or cinnamon-sugar pita chips or whatever you like.

Makes about 1 ½ cups.


Another recipe like this one: Caramel Dip for Apples

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