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11 Brilliant Ways to Use Cream Cheese

March 31, 2014

Photo © Johnny Miller

We all know cream cheese makes a stellar artichoke or onion dip and a sweet-tangy frosting (not to mention the perfect cheesecake). But did you know that the bagel spread is also the secret to fantastic homemade ice cream? Here are 11 less expected ways to use cream cheese.—By Kristin Donnelly

1. Miso spread. Cover a block of cream cheese with miso and cure it for a few days for an exceptional and unusual two-ingredient spread.

2. With sardines. Blend cream cheese with jalapeños and serve on crackers topped with sardines and green olives for a retro-fabulous hors d’oeuvre.

3. Soup. Make pureed soups—such as this broccoli one—both creamy and tangy by adding a bit of cream cheese.

4. Mac and cheese. Scatter cubes of cream cheese on top of your mac and cheese before baking to make it extra luscious.

5. Moussaka. Use cream cheese as a béchamel shortcut when making this classic Greek casserole.

6. Pasta sauce. Toss cream cheese with hot pasta to make an instant cream sauce.

7. Crêpe filling. Spread cream cheese on these thin French pancakes and top with smoked salmon and spinach salad. Or go sweet, and top with jam instead.

8. Pastry dough. Use cream cheese in an easy dough for strudel, a gluten-free pie dough or a versatile tart crust.

9. Brownies Blend cream cheese with an egg yolk and sugar to swirl on top of brownies before baking.

10. Puff pastry filling. Stuff cream cheese and some guava paste into store-bought puff pastry for an insanely delicious quick-prep dessert.

11. Ice cream. Use just a little cream cheese to give homemade ice cream extra bite.

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