Cherry Chip Nut Bread With Cherry Spread

2 cups flour
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup chopped pecans
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup light brown sugar (firmly packed)
2 eggs, beaten
4 Tablespoons (stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup maraschino cherry juice
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup chopped, drained maraschino cherries

Cherry Spread
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
4 Tablespoons (stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup cherry preserves
1 Tablespoon kirsch or other cherry flavored liqueur (optional)

Preheat oven to 350°. Combine all bread ingredients except cherries in mixing bowl. Blend on low speed of electric mixer for 15 seconds. Increase to medium speed and continue blending for 30 more seconds. Fold in cherries.

Pour batter into greased and floured 9x5x3 inch loaf pan. Bake for 1 hour or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes in pan and remove to wire rack to cool completely. Serve with Cherry Spread.

To make the spread, beat cream cheese and butter at medium speed until smooth. Add preserves and liqueur (if using). Cover and keep cool until ready to serve.