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Spice up your cheese plate with jalapeno cheddar dip

The best non-pimento pimento cheese you ever did try

<p>This cheese dip would be great on grilled cheese or melted over tortilla chips for nachos. &nbsp;</p>

This cheese dip would be great on grilled cheese or melted over tortilla chips for nachos.  

This summer I was making a cheese board and had a total craving for pimento cheese. After looking up a few recipes to find the correct cream cheese to cheddar ratio, I went right to the grocery store. At the store, I couldn’t find pimentos anywhere, but inspiration struck and I picked up a fresh jalapeno pepper.

Prep time: 5 minutes

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons mayonnaise 

2 teaspoons stone ground mustard

One 8oz. block of cream cheese

One 8oz. bag of shredded sharp cheddar cheese

One large jalapeno pepper

¼ teaspoon onion powder

¼ teaspoon paprika

¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes

¼ teaspoon garlic powder 

Frank’s RedHot to taste

Salt and pepper to taste 

To make your life a whole lot easier, let your cream cheese sit out for up to an hour to come up to room temperature. Once your cream cheese is up to room temperature, you can begin the assembly process. 

Instructions:

  1. Start by washing and dicing a jalapeno pepper, making sure to remove the seeds. Removing the seeds eliminates some of the heat from the jalapenos, which allows you to control the spiciness of this dip a little better. Dice the jalapeno finely and add it to your large mixing bowl. 
  2. On top of that jalapeno, you can add the block of room temperature cream cheese, the bag of shredded cheese, 2 tablespoons of mayonnaise and 2 teaspoons of mustard. 
  3. Add to your bowl ¼ teaspoons each of onion powder, garlic powder, paprika, red pepper flakes and salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Finally you can shake in as much or as little hot sauce as you’d like. My favorite option is Frank’s RedHot Original. It’s rich and slightly vinegary flavor adds a lot of depth and spice. Always start with a conservative amount of Frank’s, as you can always shake in a little more later. 
  5. Take a large wooden spoon and mix your ingredients until your cheese mixture is well combined. This definitely takes a bit of elbow grease. I like to use the back of the spoon to mash the mixture on the sides of the bowl. If your cheese mixture feels way too thick, you can add a little extra mayo to loosen it up. You’ll know the dip is ready when it starts to form a large ball in the bowl. 

At this point you should do a taste test — I often add more salt and hot sauce at this stage. Give it another good mix and transfer to a serving bowl. I like to top my dip with a little extra hot sauce and a few cracks of black pepper. 

A good cheese dip isn’t complete without a perfect cracker. I was inspired by a gorgeous Marie Bette baguette sitting by the checkout and I decided to make my own crostini. I’m obsessed with Feast’s crostini, but spending six dollars on one bag of crostini doesn’t always seem worth it. 

Prep time: 5-10 minutes

Ingredients

One baguette

Olive oil 

Salt

Pepper

Instructions:

  1. To start making your own crostini, you need a fresh baguette sliced on a diagonal. This gives your more surface area to spread the delicious cheese. 
  2. Place the sliced baguettes on a baking sheet and drizzle them with olive oil, salt and pepper. 
  3. Broil the baguette slices for one minute, rotate the tray and cook for one more minute. If you want a slightly crispier crostini, you can start by baking the baguette slices at 375 degrees for 4-5 minutes and broil after. 

I love to include this dip on a cheese board in place of a plain, sliced cheddar cheese. I think it adds a great new texture and a little heat to your average charcuterie. This cheese dip would also be great on grilled cheese or melted over tortilla chips for nachos. 

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