Today I'm sharing three easy, delicious recipes that are great to make for fall entertaining--or anytime entertaining for that matter. They all have a cream cheese base. They all can be served as dips with fruit, cookies and pretzels. They all can be spreads on bagels, toast, or muffins.
It's hard to choose a favorite, so I like to make all three. When I serve them to guests, there's likely to be a discussion about which one is each person's favorite. They enjoy tasting and comparing.
RECIPE #1: CARAMEL CREAM CHEESE DIP
First, the most basic recipe. It's so easy it's ridiculous. How these three simple ingredients can come together to taste like caramel, I don't know. But they do. I've been making this dip for years. Always a winner.
The simple ingredients are dark brown sugar (you can use light, but dark provides a richer flavor), vanilla, and cream cheese (I use low fat). That's it.
You can mix these either in a food processor or with an electric mixer. A food processor is the quickest and easiest, if you have one. Add the 3 ingredients to the bowl, whirl them until they're well mixed. Done. I told you this was ridiculously easy!
Serve it plain, or garnish it with toffee bits. Grocery stores sell toffee bits in bags in the area where they have bags of chocolate chips.
Next, a seasonal favorite. Nothing says Fall like pumpkin pie. This is a simple variation on the caramel dip. Here are the ingredients: dark brown sugar, canned pumpkin (the plain, unflavored kind), vanilla, cream cheese, pumpkin pie spice. If you don't have pumpkin pie spice, you can make your own (View Pumpkin Pie Spice Mix Recipe).
Add all of the ingredients to the food processor bowl, give it a whirl. Done.
Garnish with chopped pecans or walnuts, if you like. Tastes like a bowl full of pumpkin pie. Delish!
If you like peanut butter, oh my, you'll like this dip. Another simple variation on the other dips. Here are the ingredients: dark brown sugar, honey, peanut butter (creamy or chunky--you decide), vanilla, cream cheese.
Dump them in the bowl, give it a whirl. Presto. Your third dip is finished. Yay!
Garnish it with chopped peanuts, if you want to. This one is delicious with apples, but you have to try it with bananas, too. So good.
These can be served with fruit for dipping on a breakfast or brunch buffet. Add some cookies for dipping as desserts on a dinner buffet. Crisp, sliced apples are my favorite dippers. You may want to read my post about preventing apple slices from browning, so they can be left out on the table or buffet without getting yucky. Ginger snaps are my favorite cookies with these dips. Graham crackers are good, too. I also like the sweet-salty combo with pretzels.
I love how festive these bowls of dip look on my fall leaf plates--they were a fun birthday gift from my friend, Sheri. (I love cute dishes. King-Man, um, not so much.)
These also make delicious spreads on bagels, muffins, and toast. They're great to take with a bag of bagels to share at work or a breakfast/brunch gathering. You might want to try them on my Pumpkin Granola Muffins or Banana Oat Nut Bread.
Give these dips a try. We had our own little taste test in our kitchen yesterday. T-Man was here with his buddy, James. T-Man's favorite was the caramel, James's favorite was the peanut butter, my favorite was the pumpkin pie. So, I guess that means that you need to make all three, so you'll have everyone's favorite!
For more ideas on using these dips as easy toppings for cookies & brownies and making mini pies, check out my post:
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