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With a sweet and citrusy burst of flavor, this Cranberry Orange Cream Cheese is a festive spread for bagels, toast, and more. It’s an easy addition to a holiday brunch or a simple way to make a weekday breakfast or lunch a bit more special. You can even use it as a dip for fruit or graham crackers.
Festive Flavored Cream Cheese
This New Jersey girl knows a thing or two about bagels and cream cheese. I’ve certainly had my share, and it was always fun to go into the bagel shop, pick out a bagel, and pair it with one of the selections from the heaping containers of flavored cream cheese.
But this isn’t plain old strawberry or honey or garlic cream cheese. This flavored cream cheese is filled with the festive pairing of cranberry and orange, plus the perfect hint of cinnamon and vanilla. All you need to do is stir together a few basic ingredients. This gives an extra burst of deliciousness that takes plain cream cheese and makes it a little extra special.
It’s a simple way to add a little pizzazz to a weekday breakfast, and it’s even a great kids’ lunch idea. But the seasonal flavors have just the right amount of sweetness and zing to make it perfect for a Christmas brunch.
What You’ll Need
Here is what you’ll need to make this deliciously flavored orange cranberry cream cheese. Head down to the recipe card for the full amounts.
- Cream cheese. You can use regular or light (ft free is not recommended), just make sure it is softened to room temperature (regular or light is fine)
- Vanilla extract. Pure extract, not imitation flavoring, will give the best flavor.
- Honey. You can also use maple syrup.
- Mandarin Oranges in 100% Juice. I like to use one of the little Dole fruit cups. Pour out the juice and make sure it is drained well.
- Dried cranberries. These are regular old Craisins, chopped.
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How to Make Flavored Cream Cheese
You can follow this method to make pretty much any flavor of cream cheese you like, from fancy Carrot Cake Whipped Cream Cheese to one that simply has fresh strawberries and honey or a spoonful of raspberry jam mixed in. You can also make savory cream cheese with caramelized onions, everything bagel seasoning, or even Cajun spice.
- Start with softened cream cheese by leaving it out at room temperature until it is nice and smooth and easy to stir.
- Place it in a bowl, and blend in the honey, vanilla, and cinnamon with a spoon or spatula. Stir until smooth.
- Then add the cranberries and drained mandarin oranges and gently stir them in.
- Refrigerate until chilled or until you are ready to serve it. As long as it is covered, it will keep in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 days.
The obvious first place to start is smearing this flavored cream cheese on plain bagels or Gluten Free Cinnamon Raisin Bagels. It really adds something special to a weekday breakfast, though you can also serve it with Gluten Free Cranberry Orange Coffee Cake or Cinnamon Rolls as part of a festive brunch.
But there are so many more options:
- Use it as a dip for apple or pear slices or gluten free graham crackers as an after-school snack.
- Add it to a charcuterie plate, whether it’s a kids’ snack platter or stuffed into Pistachio Cream Cheese Stuffed Dates alongside your meats and cheese.
- Make it a sweet part of game day when you dip Gluten Free Cinnamon Sugar Pretzels or Pretzel Bites.
- Whether breakfast or dessert, it’s lovely stuffed inside some gluten free crepes.
More easy dips and spreads
Cranberry Orange Cream Cheese
- In a small bowl, stir together the cream cheese, vanilla, cinnamon, and honey or maple syrup until smooth.
- Gently stir in the Mandarin Oranges and dried cranberries. The oranges will break up as you stir, which is what you want, though take care not to break them down completely or the cream cheese will be too runny.
- Place in the refrigerator until well-chilled.
- Serve with mini bagels, apple slices, toast, graham crackers, etc.