The Mailbox: A cheese spread for the holidays

I am trying to locate a homemade crouton recipe that I saw in The Bee several years ago. Can someone help? Thank you.

Jacqueline Henderson, Sacramento

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Cranberry spread with cream cheese

Prep time: 25 minutes

Cook time: 15 minutes

Serves 12

Diane Umberson of Grass Valley was looking for an easy appetizer to serve on Thanksgiving Day.

This recipe was shared with the Mailbox years ago by Connie Lane of Penn Valley who said it disappears like magic. She recommended toasting the almonds until they are dark brown but not burned for best results.

1 cup sugar

1 cup water

One 12-ounce package fresh cranberries

3/4 cup apricot jam

2 tablespoons lemon juice

2/3 cup chopped toasted almonds

Two 8-ounce packages cream cheese

In a saucepan, bring the sugar and water to a boil. Add cranberries and cook until the berries pop and have thickened. Remove from heat and add the apricot jam and lemon juice. Let cool about 20 minutes and add the toasted nuts.

Place 2 blocks of cream cheese, one on top of the other, in a holiday dish with at least 1-inch sides. Pour the spread over the top and serve with seasoned crackers.

Per serving: 304 cal.; 5 g pro.; 36 g carb.; 17 g fat (9 sat., 6 monounsat., 2 polyunsat.); 42 mg chol.; 121 mg sod.; 2 g fiber; 49 percent calories from fat.