Cut off all rind from top, bottom and sides. (Note: It’s easier to cut off the rind when the cheese is chilled and firm.) Cut cheese into cubes; place in mixing bowl. Cover and let stand about 30 min. until softened.
Using an electric mixer, beat on low speed just until cheese is creamy, scraping down sides of bowl as needed.
Scrape into serving dish. Top with toasted walnuts, honey and thyme, if desired. Serve with crostini or crackers.
For an easy holiday appetizer, fill baked and cooled mini tart shells with whipped Brie topped with dollops of red pepper jelly.