Brunch is by far my favorite meal. If I could only eat brunch for every meal here on out, not only would I be experiencing the world's biggest carbohydrate crash (hello, waffles, pancakes, muffins, and crepes), but I would also be extremely happy. You know, when not in the aforementioned 'carb coma'. But I digress.
When it comes to making brunch for myself, I've always lived by the principle that 'bourgie is better'. And while that tub of Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese is enough to get you through your commuter bagel during the week, wouldn't it be better if that cream cheese was silkier, spreadable, and covered with a completely decadent caramelized onion jam? You won't regret this. Trust me.
Vegan French Onion Bagel Spread
(Makes about 2 cups)
FOR THE ONION JAM -
2 large red onions
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt, to taste
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
1/4 cup white wine or dry vermouth
FOR THE SPREAD -
1 1/2 packages Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese at room temperature (or any other vegan cream cheese substitute, equal to 12 ounces)
1/2 cup Tofutti Sour Supreme (I believe Follow Your Heart makes a vegan sour cream substitute as well. Whichever you can find!)
1/2 cup fried shallots, optional, to garnish (Check the Asian food section of your supermarket.)
1) First, make the onion jam. Peel and slice the onions into fine half-moons. Place them into a wide heavy-based pan, along with the olive oil, and sweat over a medium-low heat until they begin to caramelize and brown, about 15 minutes.
2) Add the thyme leaves and granulated sugar to the pan, and cook for another 3 to 4 minutes, until the sugar is melted and the onions are well caramelized.
3) Pour the white wine or vermouth into the pan, and work quickly to stir and scrape any browned bits sticking to the bottom of the pan. Keep stirring and scraping until the pan is basically clean, and the liquid has completely evaporated. Turn off the heat, and set aside to cool. (If packed into a sterilized jar, this mixture can be kept in the fridge for up to a week.)
4) To make the dip, beat the cream cheese (either with a wooden spoon or with an electric mixer) until it is completely smooth. Add the sour cream and beat again until smooth, thick and combined.
5) At this point, you can either add the cooled onion jam and mix the two together, or do as I like to do, and serve the smooth, creamy dip spread out on a plate, and topped with a tangle of onions. Either way, sprinkle with the crisp fried shallots and serve!