I like cream cheese. Toast and cream cheese? Yeah, I like it. But sometimes it needs some umph! Ya know? I’ll smear come jam with my cream cheese, or drizzle some maple syrup or honey, or simply add a dash of ground cinnamon. Sigh…same song and dance with this cream cheese business! What to do?
Gourmet it! Change it! Neufchatel and more!
If you like cream cheese, then you’ll like Neufchatel cheese. There are actually two types of Neufchatel, a French version and an American version. The American Neufchatel is the one we see in the markets, in fact, it sits very close to the iconic cream cheese.
So, Neufchatel….yup! This is why I think you’ll like it…
It’s very similar to cream cheese in texture and flavor. Yum!
It’s lower in calories and fat than regular cream cheese. For those calorie counters out there, this one’s for you! Not a calorie counter, there is much to be enjoyed. I promise!
I wanted my Neufchatel to be creamy, sweet and aromatic. And it was! I rehydrated dried figs in balsamic vinegar while it reduced on the stove. The balsamic vinegar became an aromatic syrup and the [now] plump figs were sweet and insatiable. The combo is heavenly.
The Neufchatel and fig and balsamic mixture had a marriage and became a pleasing spread for my toast, my rustic bread, my crackers…anything.
Nutritional perks –
- Figs – A good source of potassium, which helps control blood pressure. A good source of dietary fiber and calcium.
Balsamic Fig Cheese Spread
– 6 dried figs, halved
– 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
– 8 oz Neufchatel cheese, at room temperature
Add the balsamic vinegar and dried figs in a small to medium saucepan over medium heat. When the balsamic begins to bubble, lower the heat to a simmer. The balsamic vinegar will reduce to a thick syrup and the figs will become a bit plump because they’re rehydrating.
Remove the rehydrated figs and any leftover balsamic syrup from saucepan, and allow to cool to room temperature.
When the rehydrated figs are at room temperature, place in a food processor and add the Neufchatel cheese. Process until well combined. Chucks of dried figs in the mixture is excellent, so do not over-process the mixture. The final mixture will have a delightful light purple hue to it.