Monday, June 25, 2012

How to Save Money and Food: Frozen Cream Cheese Update

Since my post about Freezing Cream Cheese and Butter seemed to be pretty popular, and several people told me that they are now freezing cream cheese because of that post, I thought that I would update you on what else I have learned about freezing cream cheese. I have been using a lot of my frozen cream cheese lately (mostly in cream cheese frosting, some dip, a couple cheesecakes, some biscuits, but a lot of frosting (for Nutella Brownies, recipe to come)) so I have learned a little bit more about frozen cream cheese that I thought I would share with you.

One thing that I learned is that frozen cream cheese works fine for dips and frostings. It is just as creamy as unfrozen cream cheese (or maybe almost as creamy, I actually haven't used much unfrozen cream cheese lately, I don't know, either way it works just fine). All you have to do is microwave it on defrost for a little bit and then stir together the solid cheese and the watery stuff that comes off it and keep stirring until it is creamy. I used a fork each time and it worked just fine.

Another thing that I learned is that Real Cream Cheese definitely comes out better after being frozen than the lower fat variety. Well actually the main difference is the creaminess. The taste of both comes out about the same as before. But real cream cheese comes out very creamy after being frozen (if you use the method described above) but the lower fat cream cheese comes out kinda lumpyish. Basically it has very small lumps in it that won't go away no matter how much you stir it.

These are cream cheeses that were frozen. The top two blocks are real cream cheese and the bottom one is low fat cream cheese. I don't know if you can see it but the real cream cheese is definitely creamier. So if you are making frosting or dip the real cream cheese is better for that. Or if you are making a lot of it you can mix the two together and no one will know the difference. For baking I suggest using half real and half fake (because it makes it slightly lower fat but keeps the great taste and texture), but really any combo works.

Another thing that I learned which is unrelated to freezing (I think) is that you should always cream your cream cheese before adding other ingredients to it. My sister and I made some cheese cake bites for the shower and we forgot to cream the cream cheese first (we actually used unfrozen cream cheese so I didn't know if it would be necessary) and it came out lumpy. No matter how much we mixed it, it wouldn't stop being lumpy. So just to be safe whether you are using frozen cream cheese or unfrozen always cream it before adding anything else (creaming with a fork works fine, or a mixer works too).

What about you? Do you have any tips for working with Cream Cheese?

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