Way back when I was in college, my brother and his wife would invite us up to dinner at his house that was thirty minutes away. My sister-in-law always had a great spread, and my siblings, husband, and I always left with a full belly.
I remember close to the holidays one year, they invited us up to have a little Christmas celebration before the rest of us flew back to Virginia to spend Christmas with our parents.
My sister-in-law, Tarin, put out cranberry dip appetizer, and it really intrigued me because I had never seen a dip like this before. Tarin promised me it was good, so I dug in and didn’t stop.
This cranberry spread, served over a block of cream cheese, has become a holiday tradition for me to make. I usually prepare a charcuterie board on Thanksgiving for the kids and myself to snack on while we wait for the main meal to be done. It keeps hunger at bay, and makes it so I don’t have to stop dinner preparation to make sandwiches . You can be guaranteed that this dip is on that charcuterie board every year.
It makes a good amount of dip that I usually have enough leftover from Thanksgiving to serve as an appetizer at my annual ornament exchange. I’m so bummed that my ornament party won’t happen this year, thanks to it being 2020, but at least I have one of my favorite little appetizers to snack on in the meantime.
The tartness of the berries is balanced with the apricot jam that you mix in with it, and the cream cheese adds a nice savory touch, while the pecans give that nice crunch. I typically serve these with Townhouse crackers or Ritz, but you can really serve them with whatever cracker is your favorite, and it will still taste great.
Cranberry Cream Cheese Dip
- 1 12 oz. bag of fresh cranberries
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup apricot preserves
- 1 8 oz. block cream cheese
- 1/2- 1 cup chopped pecans
Preheat oven to 350. In a small pan lined with foil and then greased well, place cranberries. Check for rocks or any little leaves that could have made it in the bag. There is usually something foreign, so don’t skip that step. Pour the sugar on top of the berries and mix until the berries are covered. Place in the oven and bake for 1 hour, or until berries are bursting and sugar is dissolved.
Once the berries are cooked, stir in the apricot preserves until combined. Store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
To serve, spoon desired amount of cranberry mixture on top of a block of cream cheese. You can always refill and add more. Sprinkle the top with chopped pecans and serve with your favorite crackers. I like to serve it with a knife so people don’t break their cracker off while sticking it into the cheese.