Culinary Wonder: “Greek” Cream Cheese and Greek Yogurt

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Guys… this product is just what the home cook has needed. The whole “low-fat” cream cheese which we all know, is not as tangy or smooth as the full fat version. “Greek” Cream Cheese and Greek Yogurt is dare I say…better than any brand of full fat cream cheese out there today.

Let me tell you why. This product has that beloved tang that cream cheese gives you with an amazing creaminess that is provided from the Greek yogurt. Not only is this product a healthier alternative, the results with my baking and culinary endeavors have been just. that. good.

I will be using this product, testing it out in different savory and sweet recipes. Check back here! More to come…for now check out this excellent substitute for cream cheese frosting!

“Greek” Cream Cheese and Yogurt Frosting

  • 8 oz. whipped “Greek” Cream Cheese Yogurt (The whipped variety is extra fluffy and light!)
  • 4 oz. light sour cream
  • 1 vanilla bean, scraped (feel free to omit, these can be pricey but are so yummy)
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • honey to taste (I say to taste because you can always add but cannot subtract once its in the frosting! I started with a few tablespoons)

Start by using an electric mixer on medium speed beating the cream cheese and sour cream together. Whip until light and fluffy about 1 minute. Add in the remaining ingredients and beat till combined.

*this particular brand of cream cheese has lower calories, as does using light sour cream instead of butter. Honey is also a natural, healthier alternative to white sugar :-)

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I used this batch of frosting on a traditional yellow cake recipe that I lightened up with apple sauce and egg whites.(i know, i know skeptical….but just as tasty I promise)  I garnished the cake with fresh berries to resemble the American Flag, in lieu of the recent tragedies in Boston it is nice to show your patriotism!

 

Coconut Concoction

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Whenever I go to a get together or a dinner party at a friends house, I always ask “what can I bring?” There are the typical store bought dips, cookies, brownies; yawn. -__-

With a little help from the store, and a touch of homemade cooking these treats can be made easily and inexpensively. I called them Toasted Coconut-Vanilla Bean Cheesecake Cups…My inspiration? I have been obsessing over this toasted coconut vanilla yogurt lately and have grown to love everything coconut flavored.

Cheesecake Cup Filling

  • 1 8 oz. package “Greek” cream cheese, softened (this stuff is amazing!!)
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 small box instant cheesecake pudding
  • 1 1/2 cups low-fat milk (you can use whole milk if need be, but NOT non-fat, it will not set as firmly)
  • 1/2 cup prepared vanilla bean whipped cream, recipe follows (no vanilla beans no problem, use extract!)
  • 1/2 cup toasted coconut (I used flaked sweetened coconut)

Whipped Cream

  • 1 cup cold heavy whipping cream (the colder the better, this will make whipping the cream much easier)
  • 1/8 cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 vanilla bean pod scraped (can be omitted, as they are a bit pricey)

For the filling, prepare the cheesecake pudding as directed on box but only use the 1 1/2 cups of milk versus the two; set aside and chill for 20 minutes or until firmly set. (This allows for a thicker consistency)

Beat cream cheese with 1/4 cup white sugar until combined. Beat this mixture into the chilled cheesecake pudding just until combined. Fold in 1/2 the whipped cream until mixture is light, fluffy and consistent.

Whipped Cream

Combine cream, sugar and vanilla in a mixing bowl and beat until medium peaks are formed. Do not over work this or else you will wind up with butter.

To assemble:

I used phyllo dough and created cups in muffin tins easily. (by brushing melted butter in between the dough layers (about 4) and pressed into the muffin tins.)Don’t have the time to make your own? You can find these pre-made individual mini cups in most any grocery store. Feel free to also use a graham cracker crust base as well.

I garnished mine with more toasted coconut, graham cracker crumbs and some berries. Try them with pineapple! This is such a quick and easy take on cheesecake. All your guests will be asking for the recipe. :-)
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