Cream cheese is an American invention that dates back to 1872. Aside from being the key ingredient in cheese cake, the smooth soft cheese is served with fruit, crackers, or on breads such as bagels.
Cream cheese is made from cow's milk and is considered an unripened (fresh) cheese and by definition must contain at least 33 % milk fat. The cream cheese product is available in full fat, low-fat or light. A similar product is Neufachatel cheese which is lower in fat (about 23%). There is also a spreadable version which is simply whipped cream cheese which gives the product a light easy-to-spread texture.
The most well-know American brand is Philadelphia Cream Cheese whose roots date back to 1873. The brand is now owned by Kraft Foods.
If you need an alternative to cream cheese you can use: Equal parts of cottage cheese, drained, blended with half-and-half or cream + a little butter
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Brand: Kraft Philadelphia Cream Cheese: Pasteurized nonfat milk and milkfat, cheese culture, whey protein concentrate, salt, stabilizers (xanthan and/or carob bean and/or guar gums).
I don't know about you but there are many times a recipe calls for softened cream cheese and I invariably forget to pull it out of the refrigerator. You can soften cream cheese quickly by placing it in a microwave safe dish, microwave on high for 15 seconds. If you have an older microwave it may take a few seconds more but just keep heating a 2-3 seconds at at time. Use the cream cheese and any accumulated whey in your recipe.
Need to convert cream cheese from cups to grams, or grams to cups?
2 tablespoons of cream cheese is 99 calories