Cream Cheese Tips, Hints, and Substitutions
• Whipped spreadable cream cheese may have less calories per serving by volume than block cream cheese, but this is only because air is whipped into the cheese to make it more easily spreadable. The volume by weight is less, thus less calories per tablespoon. It is still helpful for those who need portion control. Just do not pile it on too thick.
• Low-fat and non-fat varieties will not melt as well because of the lower fat content.
• To use the microwave to soften block cream cheese for mixing with other ingredients: Remove from the foil packaging and place on micro-safe plate. Cook on 50 percent power for about 1 minute for an 8-ounce block or 30 seconds for a 3-ounce block. Let rest for 1 minute before using.
• To use the microwave to soften block cream cheese to room temperature for table use: Unwrap and place on micro-safe plate. Cook 3-ounce block on high for 5 to 15 seconds or 8-ounce block on high for 20 to 30 seconds.
• When using cream cheese in cheesecake, it is important that the cheese be at room temperature before beginning in order to achieve a smooth, creamy result.
• Herbed and fruited cream cheeses are widely available in pre-packaged form, but it is very easy to cream the cheese and add your own favorite herbs or fruit jellies and jams.
• For a quick party dip, bring a block of cream cheese to room temperature and top with salsa, chutney, or fruit preserves.
Serve with savory crackers, vegetables, fruits, or cookies.
• 3 ounces of cream cheese equals 6 Tablespoons.
• 8 ounces of cream cheese equals 1 cup.
• In most applications, Neufchatel cheese may be substituted for cream cheese in equal measure.
• To reduce fat in dips and spreads, yogurt cheese, creamed cottage cheese, and low-fat/non-fat cream cheese may be substituted in equal measure.