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Baked brie and cranberries is a popular dish used as an appetizer or side dish, and is usually accompanied by items like crackers or vegetable sticks for dipping. This round, soft cheese is often baked with other fruits, such as apples and raisins, and topped with a light sprinkling of ground nuts. Serving brie and cranberries around the autumn and winter holidays is popular, as cranberries are a traditional fruit this time of the year. The baked brie also serves as an appetizer that not only provides a rich and creamy texture, but a warming quality to accompany the cool temperatures.
Brie is a soft and creamy cow cheese that comes in a rind-covered round, and is often used in appetizer and party food recipes for its abilities to spread easily on crackers or toasted breads. It is best to serve brie and cranberries warm, so the cheese has melted slightly, which aids in spreading and dipping. Popular dipping items include whole wheat crackers and crisp breads, as well as crisp vegetable sticks like celery and carrots for lighter options. Sprinkling a warm spice over the brie, like cinnamon or ginger, adds complexity to the overall flavor of the dish and may add to the holiday feel.
Often, brie and cranberries are served in the autumn and winter months, being widely associated with the holidays, in which cranberries are in season and sold at many grocery stores. Brie, although typically sold year round, may also be more widely available due to its popularity as a party and appetizer food. It is best to sprinkle the cranberries on the brie and bake them in a round glass pan until warm and spreadable, but not completely melted. The brie should still be stiff enough to hold its original shape, but warm and soft enough to act as a spread.
It isn't uncommon to serve brie and cranberries with a crushed or ground nut topping, such as almonds or walnuts, especially during holiday seasons. Combining the nuts, cranberries and chosen spices, the toppings can be mixed together with a little brown sugar and vanilla or rum extract before topping the brie. Other fruits can accompany the cranberries, such as apples and raisins, and can be baked for a sweet appetizer. Stuffing soft, baked brie and cranberries into finger sandwiches and pastries can also create an attractive party spread.
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