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Sweet Appetizer for Summer Get-Togethers

July 29, 2013

As a teenager, good portions of my summer vacation were spent in Mexico. If I wasn’t helping my grandmother cook, I was being taught crochet by my aunt, who was an expert at it. One summer in particular, I was busy perfecting my double crochet stich, when all of a sudden my aunt scurried across the dining room into the kitchen. I followed. Concerned with her hastiness in the kitchen, I asked her if everything was ok.

She looked at me with a worried expression and said that she had forgotten it was her turn to host the crochet club her and her friends organize on a weekly basis. She grabbed her worn recipe book with the broken spine, opened the refrigerator door and grabbed a package of PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese and a few other ingredients.

In a matter of minutes, she had created a tray of beautiful honey-sweetened bruschetta appetizers for her and her friends to enjoy with a cup of tea. To make this delicious appetizer even more impressive, she topped them with edible flowers and mint leaves from her garden.

Since then, I love making this quick and easy recipe for my friends on impromptu gatherings. It goes well with light, layered salads, spring and summer zucchini recipes and even a perfect ending to hearty ground beef recipes such as an enchilada casserole or a beefy lasagna. It’s also the perfect picnic recipe or the ideal snack when you’re in the mood for something sweet.

Edible flowers can be difficult to find. If they are not available at your local store, try ordering them online or replace them with crunchy green apples or fresh sliced peaches. The honey-sweetened cream cheese compliments just about any flavor profile it is paired with.

Honey Sweetened Cream Cheese Bruschetta

Ingredients
10 slices of French baguette
¼ cup olive oil
8 oz. package PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese, softened
2 tbsp. honey
2 tbsp. half-and-half
2 cups strawberries, hulled and chopped
¼ cup sugar
assortment of edible flowers
mint leaves

Directions
PLACE bread slices on an ungreased baking sheet; lightly brush with olive oil. Bake for 7-10 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from heat and let cool.

BEAT cream cheese with electric hand mixer in a small mixing bowl. Continue mixing and gradually add honey and half-and-half until smooth.

COMBINE strawberries and sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir until mixture releases liquid and begins to bubble. The mixture will thicken; approximately 5-7 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool.

To serve: Spread sweetened cream cheese on bread slices, top with edible flowers, mint leaves and a side of strawberry compote.

Makes 10 bread slices, 1 cup sweetened cream and 1 cup strawberry compote

For more recipe ideas, visit my blog at www.nibblesandfeasts.com

Sweet Appetizer for Summer Get-Togethers
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