‘Tis the season for snowflakes, decorating and parties! Thanksgiving is over and the holiday season has officially begun! I am in snowy Maine where we were blessed with more than a foot of fluffy white snow followed by bright sunshine that made the snow sparkle like diamonds. We celebrated our thanks by taking a snowshoe hike surrounded by all of nature’s glory…
and snuggled up next to a blazing fire in the fireplace. Feeling thankful!
I found myself with an extra bag of fresh cranberries and was about to whip up some cranberry orange muffins, but then realized that I would be the only one eating them so nixed that idea. With party season in mind, I started researching appetizers and ran across a recipe for Cranberry Jalapeno Cream Cheese from Mel’s Kitchen Café that looked pretty festive, and I actually had all the ingredients on hand. This is an easy no cook recipe. Just spread the cream cheese in an even layer and top with the cranberry jalapeno mixture. A food processor or blender makes this quick work. I love the flavors, a perfect blend of sweet, spicy and tart combined with the creaminess of the cream cheese. Goat cheese would be a good choice too instead of cream cheese. The color is glorious and adds a decorative touch to your table.
TIP: This recipe yields a large batch, so unless you are serving a big crew, I would recommend halving the recipe. I also cut the amount of sugar in half because I prefer more tart than sweet.
CRANBERRY-JALAPENO CREAM CHEESE DIP
- 12 ounces fresh cranberries
- 4-5 green onions, chopped
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
- 1 jalapeno or red serrano pepper, seeded and finely diced
- 1/2 cup sugar (more or less to taste)
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (from about 1 large lemon)
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 2 (8 ounces each) packages cream cheese, light or regular, softened
- Crackers, for serving
- Pulse the cranberries in a food processor or blender until coarsely chopped (alternately, you can do this task by hand).
- Add the green onions, cilantro, jalapeno, sugar, cumin, lemon juice and salt and pulse until the ingredients are well combined and finely chopped.
- Transfer the mixture to a covered bowl or tupperware and refrigerate for 4 hours (or up to overnight) so the flavors have time to develop and the cranberries lose a bit of their tartness.
- When ready to serve, spread the cream cheese in an even layer on a serving plate or 9-inch pie dish.
- Top with the cranberry-jalapeno mixture, spreading evenly over the top of the cream cheese.
- Refrigerate for up to an hour before serving.
- Serve with crackers or tortilla chips
Let the holiday season begin!
Cranberry-Jalapeno Cream Cheese Dip