Bacon – Wrapped Dates

Bacon-Wrapped Dates-4Three rounds of Thanksgiving leftovers later, I am ready to roll again.

Well, all weekend I kind of felt like I was actually rolling, with the quantity of food that was in abundance – but this is a different kind of roll.

November has waned, and shopping is in full swing … so it’s time! Let the googling of “easy holiday party appetizers” commence! Alsooo, “easy holiday party appetizers bacon.”

Bacon-Wrapped Dates-3Have you tasted bacon-wrapped dates? If you have, there is a good chance that you love them. And if you haven’t, and are accidentally thinking of hard, dried dates – STOP. Medjool dates are soft, sticky, and sweet; for this recipe they are stuffed with soft cheese and wrapped in salty bacon, and baked until crispy, puffy, and oozy.

Also known as “Devils on Horseback,” this 3-ingredient appetizer is a crowd-pleaser. Prep these in advance and pop them in the oven 20 minutes before you want to serve them. The ingredients are: 1) bacon, 2) fresh medjool dates, and 3) cheese – I use Trader Joe’s “Chèvre with Honey.” If you aren’t fortunate enough to have a local TJ’s, you can mix a touch of honey in with regular ol’ goat cheese, or pick another cheese like gorgonzola, or blue. But I love the Chèvre with Honey.

Bacon-Wrapped Dates
The first thing you need to do is remove the pits from the dates. Date pits are quite large – they are comparable in size and appearance to a thin almond. It takes a little practice to find the pit quickly, but it may be helpful to pinch around the ends to see if you can locate it. Using a paring knife, make a slit at one end, and use the sharp tip of the knife to gently dig the pit out, whether you can scoop it or stab it (gently). Sometimes I have to cut a bit farther down the date on one side to get the pit – I am just more attentive when wrapping the bacon if that is the case.

After you dig out the pit, replace it with cheese – about a half teaspoon’s worth. Just eyeball it – you will lose a lot of cheese in the measuring spoon if you actually try to measure it, and it really doesn’t matter how much cheese you use.

Next, wrap the bacon around the stuffed date – if your bacon is particularly thin (like the low-sodium variety I have been using), you can use the whole slice of bacon, because it will still cook all the way through. But regular-thickness bacons should be cut in half “cross-wise” – or to make two pieces of bacon that are each about 4″ long.

Try to wrap the bacon around the date as much as possible – I try to cover the open cheesy end with the bacon so it doesn’t ooze out when it gets hot and melty. I want the cheese to save the oozing for the first bite!

Bacon-Wrapped Dates-2

Bacon - Wrapped Dates
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
A crowd-pleasing appetizer, for a holiday party or any occasion.
Author:
Serves: 24 2-bite dates
Ingredients
  • 24 fresh medjool dates {they are refrigerated when fresh; ask at customer service if you can't find them in the produce section}
  • .5 log (4 oz) Chevre with Honey
  • 12 slices bacon, cut into 24 sections, about 4" long each
Instructions
  1. Heat the oven to 425, and place a rack about 6" from the heating element.
  2. Using a paring knife, make a small slit in a date, and dig for the pit. You may have to trim off the end of the date.
  3. Remove the pit, and stuff about .5 t of chevre into its place.
  4. Wrap a 4" slice of bacon around the date, covering any place the cheese may ooze out of.
  5. Place the wrapped date seam-side down on a baking sheet, preferably one that has grooves (such as a broiler pan) to allow the bacon grease to drip away. If you can, tilt the end where you stuffed in the cheese to be elevated, so it doesn't leak out when it melts.
  6. Repeat with the remaining dates, cheese,and bacon.
  7. Bake at 425 for 10 minutes, flip, and bake for another 7-10 minutes, or until the bacon is cooked through and crispy.
  8. Serve warm!

 

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