Let me introduce you to your new favorite treat: cheesecake dip!
I love that dessert dips are becoming more popular. Lately I’ve seen so many recipes for sweet dips in cookbooks, in magazines, and on blogs, and I love it! Dessert dips are versatile, fun, and so easy to customize with your favorite flavors and dippers.
This Pecan-Caramel Cheesecake Dip was inspired by turtle cheesecake, the classic dessert with pecans and caramel sauce. It has caramel sauce in the dip, along with cream cheese, miniature chocolate chips, and chopped toasted pecans. It’s the perfect topping for cookies, pretzels, brownie chunks, or (if you’re feeling virtuous) fruit slices. Here’s what you’ll need:
- 8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
- 2 ounces (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 3/4 cup caramel sauce, divided use
- 1/3 cup powdered sugar
- 1/3 cup vanilla instant pudding mix (about half of a 5.1-oz package)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 cup toasted pecans
- 1/2 cup miniature chocolate chips
Start with pecans that have been toasted in a 350* F oven for 10-15 minutes. Toasting the nuts gives them a deeper flavor and a better crunch. Once they cool, coarsely chop them with a large sharp knife until they’re in small pieces.
Combine the room temperature cream cheese and butter in a large mixing bowl. Mix them with the paddle attachment of a stand mixer, or with a hand mixer, until they’re light and fluffy.
Add 1/2 cup of the caramel sauce, and try not to eat too much of it as you spoon it in. (The remaining 1/4 cup will be used for decoration on top.) Beat everything together until it’s nice and smooth.
Next add the powdered sugar and pudding mix. These both give the dip body, and the pudding mix, especially, gives it a little stability while maintaining a smooth, creamy texture.
Don’t forget the flavoring! Add your ground cinnamon and vanilla extract to the bowl as well.
Mix everything together on medium speed. Once it’s all incorporated, your dip will be beautifully fluffy and creamy, and a lovely pale caramel color.
Add the miniature chocolate chips, and all but a handful of the chopped pecans. Stir everything together by hand until it’s well-mixed.
Scoop the Pecan-Caramel Cheesecake Dip into a bowl, and smooth the top and sides.
Take the remaining 1/4 cup of caramel sauce, and drizzle it on top and down the sides of the dip. (It’s not a bad idea to create a “moat” around the edges of the dip, to catch most of the caramel sauce before it drips down the bowl.)
Finish the dip with a sprinkling of toasted pecans on top–beautiful!
Your Pecan-Caramel Cheesecake Dip is now finished! You can enjoy it immediately, or refrigerate it for a firmer texture. If you wrap it well, this dip will keep for up to a week in the refrigerator.
Wondering what to serve with your Pecan-Caramel Cheesecake Dip? I recommend using an assortment of sturdy, crunchy goodies, like shortbread cookies, graham crackers, pretzels, or firm lady fingers. This dip is also wonderful with fruit like apples or firm pears. Don’t be afraid to get creative!
Psst, here’s one more tip: If you find yourself with leftover Cheesecake Dip, it also makes a wonderful frosting for cupcakes, cookies, or brownies! The fluffy texture and the caramelized, slightly tangy flavor make it an irresistible topping for almost any dessert. Enjoy!
All text and images (c) Elizabeth LaBau