Friday, January 6, 2012

Friday Food Craft: Bacon Wrapped Dates

The husband and I didn't go out for New Years, we stayed home. Mostly because I had to work at 2am the next day, but we aren't much for going out to fancy parties either. We like chilling out at home and making delicious treats. Queue these delicious bacon wrapped dates. They are super easy with only 3 ingredients (although stuffing the dates is a little fussier than I typically get) and yummy! You can use whatever kind of cheese you like (or leave it out if you wish), add almond slivers or anything else your heart desires.

To make these beauties you will need:

Bacon strips, cut in half* (a full strip will be far too much for one date, so cut in half or ever in thirds if you think that would be sufficient)
Pitted dates
Cheese of choice**

*I went with thick sliced bacon, if you use something thinner you will be able to cut down on the cook time a little

**I used Blue Cheese, and while delicious, it was kind of a hassle to stuff the dates. I think a Manchego would have been lovely, you would just have to cut it into small "sticks" that fit into the date.

Start by partially cooking your bacon. My trick to cooking bacon is placing it on a wire cooling rack, on a cookie sheet (jelly roll pan, actually--make sure your pan has sides so the grease doesn't drip into your oven) in the oven and baking it at about 375 degrees for 30 minutes. To partially cook the bacon so I could wrap it around the dates, I only baked it for 10 minutes. I think the thicker bacon could have used more like 15, as I ended up cooking round 2 of these little guys a bit longer to crisp them up more.

Once your bacon has cooked for 10-15 minutes, take it out of the oven and let it cool so you don't burn yourself wrapping the dates.

While your bacon is cooking, stuff your dates with cheese. You can use any cheese you really like, and add almonds if you wish as well for a nice crunch.

Once your dates are stuffed and your bacon is cool enough to touch, wrap each date in a slice of bacon and stick a toothpick through it to secure it during the second baking step. Place these back on your cooling rack/cookie sheet setup and return to the oven for another 10-15 minutes until the desired amount of crispness is reached on your bacon.

Remove from oven and serve warm. These are a great appetizer or party food, especially since they already come on a toothpick right out of the oven. Enjoy!

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