PHILADELPHIA PUMPKIN SPICE CREAM CHEESE SPREAD (AND A RECIPE)

Welcome to Day 2 of Tag Sale Tastes’ Pumpkinpalooza!

Today I’m taking a look at Philadelphia Limited Edition Pumpkin Spice Cream Cheese Spread:

The lid boasts that this spread is made with “real pumpkin & cinnamon.”  Sure enough, the ingredient list includes pumpkin concentrate and cinnamon.

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The first thing you’ll notice when you open the container is the odd color of the cream cheese spread:

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Hmmm . . . where have I seen that color before?  Why, it’s the color of Barbie and Ken:

barbie and kenIf they were going to make this spread Barbie flesh-colored, you would think they could have at least gone with Malibu Barbie.

The appearance of the spread dashed any hopes that this might be something tasty to schmear on a bagel.  Indeed, it had a noticeable tang, which you would expect from cream cheese, but it was not offset by enough pumpkin or sugar or spice to balance it out.  There was no discernible pumpkin or spice flavor.  It kind of made you want to scrunch up your face when you’re eating it.

Rating:  1-1/2 pumpkins (out of 5)

But . . . pumpkin spice cream cheese takes just a few minutes to make, and is infinitely better than the Philadelphia brand.  This flavorful cream cheese can be used as a spread or a dip, and no one will question whether it contains pumpkin or spice.  It is also not Barbie-colored.

PUMPKIN SPICE CREAM CHEESE SPREAD
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Recipe type: Appetizers, Halloween
Author:
Ingredients
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup canned pumpkin puree
Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl. Using an electric mixer, beat until smooth and thoroughly combined. Keep refrigerated.

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Philadelphia on the left, homemade on the right

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In a side-by-side taste test, homemade easily beat out Philadelphia

HALLOWEEN-Y CROSTINI AND A HALLOWEEN COCKTAIL

While waiting for trick-or-treaters tonight, my husband and I will be enjoying some Halloween treats of our own.

About a week ago, I made black maraschino cherries to use as a Halloween cocktail garnish. They’re easy — just add black food coloring to a jar of maraschino cherries, and let them sit in the refrigerator for about a week.  Depending on the size of the jar, use about 1/2-1 teaspoon of black food coloring.  Rinse and drain the cherries before using.

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McCormick black food coloring works great

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Steeping in the inky liquid

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Black cherries!

Because it’s almost always hot and muggy on Halloween here, a cold drink is welcome on Halloween. Aperol is an apertif made with bitter and sweet oranges and other “herbs and roots.”  An Aperol Spritz, with its neon orange color, garnished with black cherries, makes a very Halloween-y cocktail.

APEROL SPRITZ
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Recipe type: Beverage
Author:
Ingredients
  • 1-1/2 ounces Prosecco
  • 1 ounce Aperol
  • Splash of club soda or seltzer
Instructions
  1. For each cocktail, fill cocktail glass with ice. Pour Prosecco into the glass, followed by Aperol and a splash of club soda. Garnish as desired.

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 Aperol spritzes in their Halloween costumes

Now you can’t just drink on Halloween — or can you?  Halloween-y Crostini is a colorful twist on tapenade, made with kalamata olives, carrots, and pickled banana peppers.

HALLOWEEN-Y CROSTINI AND A HALLOWEEN COCKTAIL
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Ingredients
  • ½ cup pitted kalamata olives
  • 1 tablespoon capers
  • 2 tablespoons chopped jarred banana pepper rings
  • 1 small clove garlic, minced
  • 1 small carrot, peeled and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ¼ teaspoon dried oregano
  • Toast crackers or toasted baguette slices
Instructions
  1. Place olives in a food processor or mini-chopper, and process until finely chopped, but not pureed. Transfer to a small bowl. Place capers, banana peppers, garlic, and carrot in food processor, and process until finely chopped. Add to bowl with olives. Stir in olive oil and oregano, and mix well. Transfer to a small ramekin or serving container, and serve with toast crackers or baguette slices. Provide spreaders to spread mixture on crostini.

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 Halloween-y Crostini

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