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For Baking, Use Cream Cheese Bricks

Fine Cooking Issue 75

When we test recipes for baked goods that call for cream cheese, we always use regular Philadelphia brand cream cheese—the kind that comes in a brick, not a tub. The cream cheese in a tub is formulated to make it more spreadable than the brick kind. That’s fine for your toasted bagel, but it’s usually not good when you’re using the cream cheese as an ingredient. Take, for example, the Cream Cheese Dough: Like the pockets of butter or shortening in pie dough, the distinctive streaks of cream cheese in this dough are what make the finished cookies flaky. Soft cream cheese from a tub won’t give you the best results. Nor, for that matter, will reduced-fat or fat-free cream cheese. As for store-brand cream cheeses, we prefer to test with branded products that are nationally available. But if you’ve used your store’s brick cream cheese and know that it produces good results, by all means use it and save yourself a little money.

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