Spicy I-8 Layer Dessert Dip

The Arizona Department of Transportation’s recipe for Spicy I-8 layer dessert dip starts with sweet potatoes.

PHOENIX — Producers of the Arizona Department of Transportation blog are sharing recipes for road trips inspired by Arizona’s six interstate highways.

Among the recipes is “Spicy I-8 Layer Dessert Dip.”

“The Interstate Highway System is one of the defining products of Dwight D. Eisenhower’s presidency, and I-8 was one of the first designations approved in 1957,” the ADOT blog reads. “Interstate 8 stretches 178 miles from its terminus with Interstate 10 here in Arizona to the California state line. From there it reaches another 178 miles into San Diego.”

The highway opened for traffic in 1964 but was not fully complete until the final stretch over the Colorado River was declared finished in 1978, according to the blog.

“Motorists can take I-8 to visit such quintessential Arizona towns as Yuma, Gila Bend and Casa Grande. As one rides along its federal grade trappings, you’ll pass some uniquely named places: Aztec, Smurr, Mohawk, Tartron and Stanwix. And don’t forget to stop for a date shake in Dateland,” the blog reads.

The highway replaced U.S. 80, according to the blog.

Spicy I-8 layer dessert dip

1 (29 oz.) can sweet potatoes in syrup, drained

¼ teaspoon salt, divided

1 fresh habanero, sliced

1 (12 oz.) jar candied jalapenos (sweet heat), drained

1 (15.5 oz.) can great northern beans

4 tablespoons cocoa powder, unsweetened

3 ½ tablespoons of sugar

2-3 tablespoons water

1 (8 oz.) tub softened cream cheese (or Toffuti)

1 (14 oz.) can whole berry cranberry sauce

½ cup dark chocolate cranberries

½ cup roasted/salted pistachios

Drain one can of sweet potatoes (in syrup). Place 1/8 teaspoon salt and sweet potatoes in a food processor. Blend until mostly smooth. Remove half of the sweet potatoes and place in the bottom of the serving dish.

Add 2 tablespoons of candied jalapenos to the food processor with remaining sweet potatoes and blend. Set aside in another bowl.

Drain one can of great northern beans. Rinse thoroughly three times. Add the beans, cocoa powder, remaining salt and sugar to the food processor. Blend until smooth, adding between 2-3 tablespoons of water as needed. Spread on top of the plain sweet potato layer.

Open the can of cranberry sauce and place in a bowl. Thinly slice a habanero pepper (keeping seeds) and stir into your cranberry sauce.


The dish will have two layers so far: plain sweet potatoes and chocolate “hummus.”

Next, add a layer of jalapeno sweet potatoes.

On top of this, spread the softened cream cheese.

Then, put on the habanero cranberry sauce.

Finally, place a single layer of candied jalapenos.

Top with pistachios and chocolate-covered cranberries. Chill, covered for at least two hours. This dip gets better the longer it chills and will keep for up to 2 days.

Serve with pita chips.

The longer it chills in the fridge, the better.

Traditional Interstate 8 layer bean dip

1 (16 oz.) can of refried beans

2-3 tablespoons water

1 (15 oz.) can of whole black beans, drained and rinsed

1 cup of guacamole

1 (8 oz.) container of sour cream

1 cup of salsa

½ cup of shredded cheese

1 (2.25 oz.) can of sliced black olives, drained

½ cup of chopped green onion


Open a can of refried beans and place in a bowl. Add 2-3 tablespoons of water until desired (and scoopable) consistency is reached.

Open a can of black beans. Rinse and drain.

Open a can of black olives and drain.

Chop ½ cup of green onions.


The first layer will be of refried beans. Follow this with the drained black beans.

Next you will add the guacamole, sour cream and salsa.

Sprinkle cheese, top with black olives and green onions.

Serve immediately or chill, covered. This dip will keep for up to 2 days.

Serve with tortilla chips.


Melissa St. Aude is the Arts & Entertainment editor at PinalCentral. She can be reached at mstaude@pinalcentral.com.