Festive Spreads

Festive Spreads
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Festive Spreads for the Holidays
By Brenda Hyde

Sweet spreads served with homemade quick breads, muffins or scones are a perfect addition to the holiday table.  They also make a nice gift or a delicious potluck contribution.

Cream cheese spreads are very easy to make, and fairly inexpensive. Even if you don't bake yourself, they can be served with purchased vanilla wafers or gingersnaps for a lovely treat.

Butter spreads are also nice, and can be served with waffles, pancakes, French toast or muffins, as well as breads.

The thickness of the spread should be to where it can be easily spread on whatever you are serving. Some quick breads, for instance, are softer than others, and the spread should be about the same as room temperature butter. Thin the spreads with a little bit of milk, juice or whatever liquid the recipe calls for. Only add a tiny amount at the time, stir, then add more if necessary until the consistency is correct.

If fruit is added to the recipe, it should be drained beforehand.

Basic Fruit and Honey Spread

8 ounces cream cheese
1/4 cup honey
2 1/2- 3 tbsp. fruit juice
Optional: 1 tsp vanilla or other extract

Blend room temperature cream cheese with the honey and fruit juice. Start with 2 1/2 tbsp. juice, but add more if you would like it thinner. Sample for taste, and if desired add the tsp. of flavoring.

VARIATIONS: a few tablespoons of crushed or chopped fruit can also be added to this spread. Below are a few suggestions.

Orange Cinnamon: Use orange juice and add 1/2 tsp. of ground cinnamon.

Lemon Ginger: Use lemon juice and 1/2 tsp. of ground ginger. A bit more honey may be needed. Taste for sweetness, and then add in a little bit at a time.

Strawberry: Use the juice from frozen strawberries when thawed, plus crush and add 1/4 cup of the berries.

Honey Butter

1 cup softened butter (2 sticks)
1/2 cup honey

Beat together and serve at room temperature.

Variations: Add a teaspoon of cinnamon, apple pie spice or pumpkin pie spice.

Fruit Butter

1 cup butter (2 sticks), softened
2/3 cup confectioners’ sugar
2-3 tbsp. fruit preserves

Blend ingredients together.  This is wonderful with any type of preserves: strawberry, raspberry, blackberry, apricot or peach.

Fruity Cream Cheese Spread

8 ounces cream cheese
2-3 tbsp. confectioners' sugar
3 tsp. fruit juice
1/2 cup grated fruit, jam or drained crushed fruit

Mix until smooth, and then add the fruit or jam. This works well with orange marmalade, strawberry or raspberry preserves, grated apple, or chopped dried fruit such as apricots.

Pumpkin Spread

8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup canned pure pumpkin
1 tsp. ground cinnamon

Blend all the ingredients together until smooth. This is wonderful on most any bread-zucchini, nut, banana or pumpkin. It's also good on muffins.  Thin slightly with a little cream or milk to use it as a dip.

Variations: You can also use cooked, mashed sweet potato.


About The Author

Brenda Hyde is a freelance writer living on ten acres in rural Michigan with her husband and three kids. She is a mom, grandma, gardener, cook and writer. She blogs on all of these topics at Harvestmoongazette.blogspot.com.


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