Introduction: Garlic Knots & Jalapeno Popper Dip

About: I am a multi-disciplinary designer and freelance artist. I love to paint, cook, bake, bullet journal, and watch Netflix.

This is a great dip to make if you've got an assortment of cheese on hand. I happened to have a large quantity of fresh jalapenos and cheddar cheese in bulk - so it was the perfect time to make this. This dip makes for a quick appetizer dish, potluck item, superbowl snack, or a comfort food meal.

Full Ingredient List:
1. 12-14 fresh jalapenos or 4-6oz. can of diced jalapenos
2. 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
3. 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
4. 1/4 cup whole milk ricotta cheese
5. 1 tube of Pillsberry pizza crust
6. handful all-purpose flour, to dust surface
7. 4 tablespoons butter
8. seasonings to taste: garlic powder, italian seasoning, chili powder, salt, & pepper
*if you've got various cheeses on hand - feel free to add into mixture! (i.e. white cheddar, mozzarella, pepper jack, colby, asiago, parmesan, etc.)

1. mixing bowl
2. cast iron skillet or pyrex dish

Prep time is 25 minutes and bake time is about 15 minutes.

Step 1: Gather Ingredients & Prep Jalapenos

First, gather all of your ingredients. This would also be a great time to let your cream cheese and butter come to room temperature.

Preheat your oven to 450 degrees. I left my cast iron skillet in the oven to preheat as well.

If you're using fresh jalapenos, the bulk of your time will be spent prepping them. You'll want to de-stem and seed each one, unless you're a big fan of spicy food. After you chop of the stem and get the seeds and membranes out, dice into even chunks. After this step, wash your hands to get the capsaicin from the jalapenos off - trust me on this one.

I've made this recipe with roasted, diced jalapenos from a can and it turned out great! Sometimes grocery store jalapenos can be pretty pricey, so feel free to opt for this option if you'd like.

Step 2: Mix Cheeses and Jalapenos

First, put your cream cheese in the big and microwave 15 seconds. This step will save you tons of unnecessary elbow grease.

Add cheddar cheese, ricotta cheese, and whatever other cheese you'd like.

Add diced jalapenos and stir.

Season to taste. This time around, I used about a dash or two of the following: garlic powder, italian seasoning, sea salt, pepper, and smoked chili powder. A couple cloves of diced garlic would be a great addition in this dish!

The last time I made this, I threw in a little sour cream in the dip as well. I didn't notice a big change with it, but if you've got some you need to get rid of before it expires, you could always toss in about 1/4 cup.

This recipe is really flexible with what you add in, so get creative and don't feel like you have to stick to what I did. Overall, you're looking for a thick consistency, similar to cookie dough.

Step 3: Prep the Garlic Knots

You could skip this step and serve with chips, etc. - but then you'll be lacking some tasty garlic knots, so I highly recommend taking the time to do this.

I use store bought pizza crust for garlic knots. You could get the thin crust version for less doughy knots.

Lightly flour your work surface. Lay out the pizza crust and stretch until even throughout. You'll want to over-stretch a little so it can retract back to a decent thickness.

I like to use a pizza cutter to easily cut this into strips, but a butter knife will work as well. You can get about 10-12 strips out of one tube of pizza crust. It's okay if the dough has some holes or isn't quite straight - you won't be able to tell once they're baked!

Step 4: Make Some Garlic Butter

Melt about 3 tablespoons of butter in the microwave. It takes about 8-10 seconds, depending on your microwave.

Stir the butter and add a dash of italian seasoning and garlic powder. Stir again.

Next, spread this mixture over each strip of pizza crust. You only need about 1/2 teaspoon per strip, if that.

Step 5: Assemble the Dish

Take each strip of dough and tie into loose knot. Don't focus too much about making the knot shape as much as keeping it loose. This is going to allow for fluffier garlic knots with the butter mixture throughout each knot.

Before you add into the cast iron, oil your skillet with some vegetable oil. I normally use a paper towel to help spread it on the bottom and all sides.

Assemble your knots into a ring-shape in the pan. If you have a square or rectangular dish - just lay each knot around the perimeter of your pan. It's okay if the knots touch; in fact, they will probably have to in order to fit each knot in the pan.

Fill the interior with the dip mixture and coat with shredded cheddar cheese and a sprinkle of parmesan. Hopefully your oven is preheated by now so that you can bake this!

Step 6: Bake!

Bake this dip with your garlic knots for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown.

As soon as you take it out of the oven, top the dip mixture with shredded cheddar and drizzle some garlic butter over the knots. Serve and enjoy!

Cheese Challenge 2016

Participated in the
Cheese Challenge 2016