During my fourteen years of being sans meat, I’ve found that when you ask a vegetarian “Why aren’t you a vegan?” Their response is either “too expensive” or “cheese.” In order to help my fellow comrades out, I’m scouring the internet for the cheesiest recipes around. This blog series will follow my journey in recreating the best, cheesy meat-free dishes on the web and featuring the history of the cheese of the week.
Missed last week’s recipe? Check out my version of the cheesiest hash browns ever here.
When I was a little kid, I didn’t even realize that cream cheese was real cheese. We would add it to our brownie batches, top red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting, spread it over everything bagels. But, for some reason, I thought it just had the same name as regular cheese—it definitely wasn’t anything like the cheese on my pizza or tacos. Now I know the truth: It is a real cheese (and maybe my favorite one). These delicious cheesecake sopapillas are stuffed with cinnamon-and-sugar -doused cream cheese and baked in the oven for a perfect and delightfully simple recipe.
We all know the Greeks invented a lot of things, but did you know we also have them to thank for cheesecake? It was served to athletes at the first Olympic games in 776 BCE (even though there was not an official recipe until 220 CE) because it was believed that the cake was full of energy. While I’m not sure it’s the best pre–pole vaulting dessert today, I’m glad they put cheesecake on a pedestal. Later on, when the Romans conquered Greece, they added crushed cheese and eggs (similar to today’s recipe).
Cream cheese’s origin has a little bit of discrepancy. Some claim that it was created accidentally by Philadelphia Cream Cheese founder, William Lawrence, while he was trying to make Neufchatel cheese. Others say that recipes for cream cheese date back to being in newspapers in the 1700s, and Lawrence was merely the first to manufacturer it on a national level. Either way, we can all be glad about the marriage of milk and cream.
The first kind of cream cheese produced had 50 percent whole milk and 50 percent cream, but the sweetest brands are made with pure cream. While making this by hand is a noble endeavor, these sopapillas do just fine with two silver boxes of Lawrence’s original.
This dessert is a hit at parties and will disappear in about 30 minutes from the platter.
- 1¾ cups white sugar, divided
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 8-ounce cans crescent rolls
- 2 8-ounce packages cream cheese, softened
- 1 stick butter
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ cup honey
- Pre-heat oven to 350° F. Grease 9-by-13-inch pan. Take one package of crescent rolls and unroll them. Lay side by side until covering bottom of pan. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, add cream cheese, 1 cup of sugar and vanilla. Mix together thoroughly with a handheld blender. Take the mixture and spoon on top of crescent roll layer. Open second package of rolls and layer them across the top.
- In a separate bowl, melt the stick of butter. Add cinnamon and remaining ¾ cup sugar. Blend, and spoon across top of rolls.
- Bake for 30 minutes or until the bars are bubbling and brown. Remove from oven and drizzle with honey. Cool for 5-10 minutes, and then cut into squares for serving!
Check out next week’s post on Goat Cheese Mini Peppers!