There are 3 privately-owned bakeries within just a couple of miles of our house, (given that fact, it’s a miracle that as of 26 weeks I’ve only gained 12 pounds during this pregnancy!), one of which bakes fresh bagels daily.
Although I’ve been practicing restraint with how often I visit these bakeries, a chewy doughy bagel was seriously calling my name the other day. I popped into the bagel bakery for a whole wheat bagel with house-made maple walnut cream cheese and was in seventh heaven for the following 10 minutes while I devoured the delicious pairing.
As with any fantastic meal I enjoy away from home, my thoughts drifted to making my own version. Although the bagel might be challenging to make at home, I knew I could recreate the maple walnut cream cheese without any difficulty, so I set right to the task.
I started with softened neufchatel, a reduced fat cream cheese which you’ve seen many times before on this little blog.
It’s vital to allow the cream cheese to come fully to room temperature before proceeding with the recipe as the softened texture allows for more even mixing.
Maple syrup is the next ingredient.
Please, please use 100% pure maple syrup! The real deal is so much tastier than the fake stuff. I also highly recommend grade B maple syrup, which is darker and richer (and more “maple-y”) than grade A. Trader Joe’s sells a great grade B pure maple syrup for a very reasonable price.
For even more maple flavor, I added a touch of maple extract to the cream cheese. This gourmet ingredient isn’t always available at all grocery stores, but you can easily find it online. Maple extract is thick and dark, resembling molasses, and a little bit goes a long way!
The maple cream cheese is whipped into smooth & creamy submission with an electric mixer. Stirring by hand won’t yield the same silky consistency, but if you don’t have a mixer, a spoon will do in a pinch.
Finally, a handful of chopped toasted walnuts is stirred into the maple cream cheese for flavor and texture.
I have to say, I actually liked my version better than the cream cheese that inspired this recipe!
It’s perfect smeared on a thick slice of your favorite quick bread, be it banana, pumpkin, zucchini, or what have you. Think of it as a less-sweet frosting.
Up next on the docket? Perhaps these homemade Pumpkin Spice Bagels!
Maple Walnut Cream Cheese
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 0 minutes
Keywords: appetizer breakfast side snack vegetarian cream cheese walnuts
Ingredients (8 servings)
- 8 oz neufchatel (1/3-less-fat) cream cheese, at room temperature
- 2 Tbsp pure maple syrup, preferably grade B
- 1 tsp maple extract
- 1/4 cup toasted walnuts, finely chopped
In a medium mixing bowl, combine the room-temperature (important!) cream cheese, maple syrup, and maple extract. With an electric hand-held mixer, whip the mixture until completely smooth and lump-free.
With a spoon, stir in the chopped toasted walnuts.
Place in fridge until firm, at least 1 hour.
Nutritional Information Per Serving:
111.8 calories, 9.2 grams fat, 4.4 grams saturated fat, 0.3 grams fiber, 3.1 grams sugars, 3.4 grams protein