When I was young, my mother would sometimes make these little open-faced sandwiches as a special treat with tea. We called them "tarts" to make them seem even more special.
She would spread a plain piece of sandwich bread (always whole-wheat!) with a thick smear of cream cheese, then wipe on a layer of sticky honey and cut each piece of bread into quarters. The tangy cream cheese and sweet honey soak into the bread a little, with just enough softness and sweetness to perfectly complement a cup of tea on a rainy spring afternoon.
I've made these with fancier breads, too, like a good baguette and a nice chewy rustic bread, but the sandwich bread is really the best. It's soft, and the cheese and honey sort of soak into it. But a slice of walnut loaf with cheese and honey would also be a lovely treat.
The last time I got fancy and made these with a nutty birdseed bread with whole grains, oats, sunflower and sesame seeds, as well as a delicious wild blackberry honey from Honey Ridge Farms. Honey Ridge Farms is a family beekeeping operation in Washington, and I am loving this blackberry honey from their farm. It has a tanginess that is new to me in honey; you can taste a little bit of berry and blackberry leaves in its sweetness. Delicious!
Here's to easy, simple afternoon snacks in the spring.
(Images: Faith Durand)