Sweet or Savory Yogurt Cheese…a Great Alternative to Cream Cheese

Cinnamon Maple Pecan and Roasted Garlic Chive Yogurt Cheese

Cinnamon Maple Pecan and Roasted Garlic Chive Yogurt Cheese

Who doesn't love a bagel and cream cheese?  I know I do, but rarely eat them as most bagels are too big, are made from white flour, and who knows what is in that cream cheese?  We made bread this week in school and I started thinking I would love to have toast with a yummy cream cheese spread for breakfast. I love garlic and chive cream cheese and the sweet ones with brown sugar and cinnamon are also good.  I checked on ingredients for the premade ones….they don't really pass my test.  Lots of weird things like modified food starch, guar gum, carob bean gum.  I decided I could do better myself! 

I certainly could have bought plain cream cheese and added some ingredients to flavor it, but I decided to start with Greek yogurt.  Greek yogurt is an excellent protein source and has beneficial bacteria as well.  Ingredients are just milk, cream and culture. One serving (7 or 8 ounces) gives you 20 - 23  grams of protein and 20% of your daily calcium needs.  You also get B vitamins including vitamin B12 as well as minerals like zinc, selenium, phosphorous and magnesium.  I'm in!

I couldn't decide on sweet or savory so I made both.  I let the yogurt drain in a dish towel over night in the fridge until it got very thick and a little dry.  Then I added in roasted garlic and chives to half of it, and maple syrup, cinnamon and chopped pecans to the other half.  It was really easy to make - the hardest part is waiting for the yogurt to drain so you can make it! The roasted garlic and chive is excellent on crackers and would be great on a veggie sandwich.  The sweet version is perfect on toast or would be really good on ginger snaps or graham crackers.  A delicious treat!  You know what I'm having for breakfast this week! 

Yogurt Cheese: Sweet or Savory

by Catherine Craig

Prep Time: 12 hours

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Ingredients (1 cup each)

  • 1 cup 2% Greek Yogurt (Fage is what I used)
Maple, Cinnamon, Pecan
  • 1 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup chopped toasted pecans
Roasted Garlic and Chive
  • 3 large or 5 small cloves of garlic, unpeeled
  • 1 1/2 tsp olive oil, divided
  • 1 Tbsp chives, chopped
  • salt and pepper

Instructions

Place a small strainer over a bowl and line with a clean dishtowel. Put the yogurt into the towel and wrap to cover. Place the bowl in the refrigerator. Let sit for 8 to 12 hours, or overnight. The water in the yogurt will absorb into the towel. (If you use regular yogurt, water may even drip into the bowl, and it will take longer to drain.)

When the yogurt is thick and dry, like the consistency of cream cheese, remove it from the towel and place it in a small bowl. (It will hold together and move in one piece.

If making the savory version, preheat the toaster oven to 400. Put the garlic cloves on a baking sheet lined with non-stick foil. Drizzle with 1 tsp olive oil, and rub it all over with your fingers. Put in the oven and roast for about 15 minutes until softened, fragrant and lightly browned. Remove and cool until you can easily handle it. Squeeze the garlic out of the skins onto a cutting board and chop it up. Add chopped garlic to the yogurt and add the chives. Mix well. Add a few grinds of pepper and a pinch of salt. Mix well and serve.

For the sweet version, add the cinnamon and maple syrup to the yogurt cheese and mix well. Stir in the pecans. Serve.

Note: you can strain 2 cups of yogurt at once to make both versions. Just divide into two small bowls before adding your other ingredients.

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