cream cheese

Creamy Mints and Candy Clay

by Nancy on May 17, 2011

in Candy

When I was growing up in the midwest, family milestones were celebrated with receptions. Graduations, weddings, 25th and 50th anniversaries meant family, friends and acquaintances would gather to congratulate the honoree. Food for the reception usually consisted of a catered cake, mints, and mixed roasted nuts. Coffee and punch were served as beverages.

The mints were my favorite and are so easy to make. This recipe was common at the time and usually went by the name Cream Cheese Mints. Cream cheese doesn’t really sound like it would be very good in mints but it smooths out the flavor so the mints don’t seem overly sweet and you don’t taste the cream cheese. Another nice thing about these mints is that the “dough” can formed into shapes and you have plenty of time to work with it as it doesn’t get hard quickly as it cools like a candy made with sugar syrup. Rose shaped mints colored to match the occasion are the ones I remember but you can also roll this dough and cut it with small cookie cutters or add a little more powdered sugar to make it stiffer and mold it like clay. Plan on two for each adult but four or five for each of the kids!

For the mints above, I used the Wilton Roses in Bloom candy mold. I scooped out 1/2 tablespoon of candy dough, rolled it into a ball between my hands, rolled the ball in a dish of superfine sugar (baker’s sugar), and then placed the ball in the mold. Beginning at one edge, I pressed the ball even with the top of the mold working across the mold and squeezing off any excess dough on the opposite side. After filling all 10 roses I turned the mold over, gave it a sharp wrap on top of a towel on the counter and the roses fell out.

Creamy Mints

  • 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 3 oz. cream cheese at room temperature
  • 1/2 tsp. mint extract
  • food coloring (optional)
  • granulated sugar (optional)

Makes 30 one half tablespoon sized mints.

  1. With cream cheese at room temperature, mix all ingredients together to form firm dough.
  2. Roll out and cut with small cookie cutters or press into molds and pop out immediately. For sparkling candy, roll into balls and dip in superfine or regular granulated sugar before pressing into molds.
  3. Place on linen towel or other smooth cloth for 24 hours. This allows the surface to dry and a crust to form so candies are easier to handle. Can be stored in air tight container in freezer with sheets of waxed paper between layers.

Candy Clay

  • 2 3/4 cups powdered sugar
  • 3 oz. cream cheese at room temperature
  • 1/2 tsp. flavored extract (optional)
  • food coloring (optional)
  1. With cream cheese at room temperature, mix 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar with all other ingredients to form firm dough.
  2. Knead in 1/4 cup additional powdered sugar or as needed to make a stiff, claylike consistency.
  3. Model into shape.
  4. Let air dry 24 hours so that the surface dry and a crust forms to make molded shape easier to handle. Can be stored in air tight container in freezer.

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Turkey Cranberry Sandwich

by Nancy on November 23, 2010

in Main Dish,Snacks

Here’s a great tasting sandwich that uses up leftover turkey and cranberry sauce. It’s a refreshing meal in the summertime with sliced deli turkey, too. Cream cheese works better than mayo to keep the cranberry sauce from soaking into the bread.

A sandwich can only be your favorite if you start with your favorite bread. I’ve made this with country potato bread, whole wheat bread and Kaiser roll.

Turkey Cranberry Sandwich

  • 1 1/2 ounces turkey
  • 2 slices bread
  • 1/4 cup soft cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup cranberry sauce
  • lettuce leaf
  1. Spread 2 tablespoons room temperature cream cheese on each slice of bread.
  2. Layer lettuce, turkey and cranberry sauce on one slice of bread and top with second slice.

My husband Steve likes his sandwiches “club” style. For him that means adding bacon.

Turkey Cranberry Club Sandwich

  • 1 1/2 ounces turkey
  • 2 slices bacon
  • 2 slices bread
  • 1/4 cup soft cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup cranberry sauce
  • 2 tablespoons walnut pieces
  • lettuce leaf
  1. Fry bacon until crisp, drain on paper towel and cut each slice in half.
  2. Spread 2 tablespoons room temperature cream cheese on each slice of bread.
  3. Press walnut pieces into cream cheese.
  4. Layer lettuce, turkey, bacon and cranberry sauce on one slice of bread and top with second slice.

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Spinach and Artichoke Dip

My mom, Nancy, once told me that she thinks the food processor is a “stupid” appliance. She told me it couldn’t do anything that you couldn’t do with a blender so for years I went without one. Then one day I tried to mix up a pie crust in the blender and ended up with a giant mess. Not too long after than I spent about an hour grating a wedge of Parmesan by hand. And then I realized I was never going to be able to make spinach and artichoke dip, one of the only ways I’m willing to eat spinach but absolutely one of my favorite foods, without a food processor so I eventually caved in a got one. I absolutely love my food processor and use it multiple times a week.

Now that I have a food processor I can grate my own Parmesan for this recipe in under 30 seconds and save a bundle over pre-grated cheese and I can finally make a smooth and lovely dip. I’m not a fan of mayonnaise or marinated artichokes so I spent years looking for and refining this recipe (inspired by Everyday Food magazine) before I finally developed this version that I’ll make over and over again.

Scoop out a round of sourdough bread to serve this artichoke dip and I don’t think you can find a food that screams California any more than that.

For best results, thaw your frozen veggies in the refrigerator for 3-4 days before making this dip. If you try to add the frozen veggies straight to the food processor they won’t chop and mix smoothly.

Spinach and Artichoke Dip

  • 16 ounces frozen artichoke hearts
  • 4 ounces bar cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
  • juice from half a lemon
  • 1 clove garlic (or more to your taste)
  • 10 ounces frozen spinach
  1. Add 8 ounces of artichoke hearts, cream cheese, Parmesan, lemon juice, and garlic to the food processor. Process until smooth.
  2. Add spinach to the food processor. Process until smooth.
  3. Add the remaining 8 ounces of artichoke hearts to the food processor and pulse 4-5 times so that the artichoke hearts are chopped into bite size pieces and evenly distributed but still chunky.
  4. Serve cold or bake at 425 degrees until bubbly if you’d like a hot dip.

Enjoy with bread, tortilla chips, crackers, or raw veggies.

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