Test Kitchen: Graveyard chocolate cheesecake dip

Around Halloween, the only treat I feel like eating is candy. Unfortunately, you can’t always show up with a bag of candy in hand and hope it suffices as bringing a dish (though, if you’re coming to my house, disregard this because yes, you totally can).

Around Halloween, the only treat I feel like eating is candy.

Unfortunately, you can’t always show up with a bag of candy in hand and hope it suffices as bringing a dish (though, if you’re coming to my house, disregard this because yes, you totally can). So if you need a quick, customizable Halloween dessert, this chocolate cheesecake dip is a winner. Plus, you can remove the Halloween decorations and use it for any occasion.

This is an elevated version of the worms and dirt dessert I used to like as a kid, and it’s easy and quick (a theme of many of the recipes I choose).

The process reminded me of making chocolate frosting, and the consistency was frosting-like, even though I mixed the dip for several minutes and refrigerated it. I think you could put in another half a block of cream cheese to thicken it up and get a little more cheesecake flavor.

I smashed an entire row of sandwich cookies for the topping. If I had been able to find the ones that have the orange-colored cream in the center, I would have picked those.

As for decorating, I couldn’t find Milano cookies, so I used Biscoff cookies, which worked well. I also couldn’t find a tube of black gel frosting, so I used chocolate frosting to stick chocolate chips on the cookies to write “RIP.” Obviously, you could make this look however you wanted and could use Halloween Peeps (if that’s your thing) or any other Halloween or spooky-looking candy. I was making this treat in August, so my decoration choices were pretty limited.

I brought the dip in to The Canton Repository office because my coworkers will eat anything, and they don’t hold back with what they think.

They gamely picked around the candy corn and seemed to mostly like the dip otherwise, though several of us found it a bit too sweet. If I made it again, I would leave out the brown sugar.

I tried the dip with honey graham dippers and animal crackers, but I also tried it with the leftover sandwich and Biscoff cookies. I would recommend something more tart, such as apples, to break up some of the sweet.

RECIPE:
INGREDIENTS:
1 package cream cheese, at room temperature
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter at room temperature
5 tablespoons cocoa powder
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons milk
2 cups, plus 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
Crushed chocolate cream sandwich cookies, enough to cover the dip (about 10)
Vanilla sandwich cookies, such as Milanos®
Black decorating icing
Candy corn and pumpkins
Graham crackers, apple slices and/or pretzels, for serving

DIRECTIONS:
1. In a medium bowl, beat together cream cheese and butter until smooth. Sift in cocoa powder, then add brown sugar, vanilla extract, salt and milk. Beat on low speed until the cocoa powder is incorporated, then increase speed to high, until very well combined. Sift in powdered sugar half a cup at a time, beating slowly after each addition to incorporate. Increase speed to high and beat until smooth and light, about 3 minutes. Transfer dip to a serving dish and smooth top with a spatula.

2. Spread crushed chocolate cookies over the top of dip to form “dirt.” With decorating icing, write “RIP” on vanilla wafer cookies, then stand upright in dip to form “tombstones.” Scatter candy corn and candy pumpkins over top to decorate. Serve with graham crackers, sliced apples and/or pretzels as desired.

SOURCE: Imperial Sugar

Where to buy

The Repository
Select Rite Aid Stores
Spee-D Foods
Buehler's Fresh Foods
Fishers Foods, including 44th Street NW, Tuscarawas St. W, Fulton Drive, Lincoln Way E. and Cleveland Ave. NW locations
Aultman Hospital Gift Shop
Mercy Medical Center Gift Shop
Gervasi Vineyard Marketplace
Carpe Diem Coffee Shop, downtown Canton and Belden Village Mall locations
News Depot
Avenue Arts Marketplace
Yum Yum Tree Alliance
Grapes in a Glass