I know that autumn has really arrived when….
- the temperatures are cooler?
- the leaves are changing?
- the days are getting shorter?
Nope! Â It is autumn in our home when I make the first batch of pumpkin dip of the season! I made my first batch on Sunday, and the Littlest Chef has been enjoying it all week in her lunches with apple or pear slices.
I don’t recall where I first saw this recipe. Versions abound, and it is quite likely that I saw it on a box of cream cheese. Â The Littlest Chef was in Preschool, and we were asked to send a snack for a party. Â I had seen this recipe and thought it looked very kid friendly.
Then, the drama ensued. Â It seems that what struck me as a likely home run with the 3-year old set was not an obvious hit with the Littlest Chef. Â She objected, sobbed, moaned and generally threw a fit of epic proportions over the idea that I was sending this to her Preschool. Â If you’ve ever met the Littlest Chef, you know how rare such behavior is, and I was very surprised by it. Â She insisted that her peeps wouldn’t like it.
I begged her to trust me onÂ this one, and we sent a platter of pumpkin dip and sliced apples for dipping with one grumpy girl. Â At the end of the day, the Preschool teacher handed me a platter practically licked clean and said that the children couldn’t stop eating it. Â The Littlest Chef was grinning from ear to ear and asking whether I had any more of the pumpkin dip. Â A favorite had been born!
I probablyÂ followed a recipe from a cream cheese package or the internet the first time I made this. However, now that it is a favorite, I feel I have some liberty to tweak it to make it better and certainly more healthy. Â Most versions have a very high ratio of cream cheese to pumpkin (e.g., 2:1) and a lot more sugar than I like to use. Â Also, many versions skimp on the yummy spices that make such recipes so delectable. My current recipe cuts back on fat and sugar and boosts the spice for a healthier version that still tastes like a sweet treat.
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- 4 oz low fat cream cheese (Neufchatel)
- 4 oz plain low fat yogurt
- 14 oz pumpkin puree
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- Optional: You could substitute 1-1/2 teaspoons of "pumpkin pie spice" for the spices in the recipe, but working with fresh, individual spices will typically provide more flavor. If you love ginger, add 1 teaspoon finely minced fresh ginger.
- Whip cream cheese and yogurt together until smooth.
- Add pumpkin and remaining ingredients and mix until well-blended.
- Serve with sliced apples, sliced pears or gingersnap cookies for dipping.