It’s funny how random recipes we try around the holidays end up part of the regular rotation. There are the old favorites, like shrimp dip and cheese & crackers, as well as newer items, like cranberry orange spread, my sister-in-law’s apple dip, my peppermint white truffles, and now this year’s chocolate peppermint cookies have been added to the list.
Occasionally some favorites get pushed aside, like your standard cheese spread. After all, did we really need both slices of cheese and a spread? And really, the new dips/spreads in the mix just scream the holidays: the classic orange/cranberry combination and the cinnamon-y flavor in the apple dip contrast nicely with the sharp cheddar, cocktail sauce, and salty crackers they share a plate with.
My mom has made this spread for the past several years, and each year I walk away from both Thanksgiving and Christmas with some extras to enjoy when I’m home again. This week, the cranberry-orange spread and crackers have served as both lunch and appetizer, and I have yet to tire of it.
Come to think of it, the extended joy we get from our holiday favorites is exactly why they are our favorites, is it not? We cherish these recipes because we enjoy them but once or twice a year, no more. And as I finish up my dwindling supply of cranberry-orange spread, I will patiently wait for Thanksgiving, and another batch.
Cranberry Orange Spread
1 (8 oz) package cream cheese, room temperature
2 tablespoons orange juice concentrate
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 cup chopped dried cranberries
1 orange, zested
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup chopped pecans
With an electric handheld mixer or stand mixer fitted with the paddle, beat the cream cheese, orange juice, and sugar until smooth. Fold in the cranberries, orange zest, cinnamon, and pecans. Chill until ready to serve.
Serve with crackers.