There is nothing like simple appetizer you can whip up for the holidays! In this case literally! Fresh cranberries, creamy cheeses, and toasted pecans get whipped together to make a festive cranberry goat cheese spread the whole family will love.
Dips and spreads are awesome party foods, don’t you think? Cold dips, hot dips, thick spreads, they’re all good. Just make them up ahead and either pull them out of the fridge or pop them in the oven and get the party started.
With Thanksgiving this week (I’m here at my parent’s house cooking many things!!) and Christmas coming up soon, I think a new recipe for a simple spread is just what we need.
Fun Holiday Appetizer
Meet your new favorite holiday appetizer! I’m excited to share this recipe with you. 😃 I actually didn’t get a chance to take the photos until just a couple of days ago, but I knew I wanted to fast track the post and get out to all of you.
I mean, how can you go wrong with fresh cranberry sauce, goat cheese, and toasted pecans? It just says HOLIDAYS!
And the pink color? SPECTACULAR!
Add in simple to make, great to make ahead, and CREAMY and this appetizer has all my attention.
What do you need?
- Cranberry Sauce – For this you’ll use fresh cranberries, orange juice, balsamic, sugar (or maple syrup), and salt
- Cheese – I like a mix of goat (for tang) and cream cheese (for creaminess)
- Pecans – Toasted pecans to mix in the spread and to top it as well.
- Crackers/Chips – For spreading upon!
How to make this
To make my cranberry goat cheese spread, make a quick fresh berry cranberry sauce. Then whip up the cranberry sauce with the cheese and mix in toasted pecans. Serve with crackers.
1. Make the cranberry sauce
Mix fresh cranberries with orange juice, sugar, balsamic, and salt. Bring the sauce to a simmer in a pot and let it cook until the cranberries have all burst and the sauce is thick.
2. Make the Spread
First up toast the pecans! You can do this while the cranberry sauce is cooking and that way both will cool at the same time be ready for the next step.
Then whip up the cheeses until they are smooth. Add the (cooled) cranberry sauce and pulse everything together. Your cranberry spread will now be seriously pink. 🙂
3. Serve and Enjoy
Fold in half the pecans and move everything to a serving bowl. Then top with the remaining pecans and serve with your favorite crackers.
Ideas for Crackers
You want a firm cracker that can stand up to the texture of whipped cheese, but still one with a mild flavor which will be a good base. Some choices include:
- Rosemary Crackers – the rosemary would pair well with the cranberries
- Seedy Crackers – the nuttiness of these crackers brings in a lot of complementary flavors
- Pepper Water Crackers – a little spice wakes up the taste buds for the tang recipe
- Rice Crackers – great crispness and an excellent gluten free option
If you try my recipe for Cranberry Goat Cheese Spread, I would love to hear from you in the comments with your experience and rating! And I’m happy to answer any questions you might have.
– Happy Eating, Annemarie
Pecan Cranberry Goat Cheese Spread
- 1/2 cup fresh cranberries
- 3 tbsp orange juice
- 2 tbsp granulated sugar, or maple syrup
- 1/4 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
- 8 oz goat cheese
- 2 oz cream cheese
- 1/2 cup pecan halves
Make the Cranberry Sauce
- Combine the cranberries, orange juice, sugar, salt, and balsamic in a small saucepan.
- Bring to a boil over medium high heat. Then lower the heat so the sauce simmers.
- Cook until the cranberries burst and the mixture becomes thick and saucy, about 7-8 minutes.
- Let cool to room temperature.
Toast the Pecans
- Heat the oven to 350F.
- Spread out the pecans on a baking sheet. Bake for 5-6 minutes, until browned.
- Finely chop the pecans and set aside.
Make the Spread
- Add the goat cheese and the cream cheese to the bowl of a food processor.
- Blend them together for ~30 seconds. Scrape down the sides and pulse a few more times.
- Add the cranberry sauce and pulse until the cranberries are mixed in and as smooth as you like it.
- Transfer the spread to a bowl and add 1/4 cup of the chopped pecans, folding them in with a large silicone spatula.
- Serve the spread topped with more of the toasted pecans along with crackers or chips.
- Make ahead: The spread can be made up to 2 days ahead if kept refrigerated in a sealed container. Make sure to top it with the pecans just before serving.
- Cheese: You can change the ratio of goat cheese to cream cheese to match your tastes. From 50/50 to mostly one or the other. These will all work.