Thursday, January 2, 2014

Bacon Wrapped Dates

Happy New Year!  2013 was a big year for our family - a new baby, lots of travel, fun times with friends and family - and we're looking forward to what 2014 has in store for us.  

I've been wanting to make bacon wrapped dates for a long time and finally gave it a go . . . they are super easy and people like them a lot.  I mean, wrap about anything in bacon and it's delicious, right?  The bonus here is that the smokiness of the bacon complement the sweetness of the dates and the creamy texture of the goat cheese just adds another layer of flavor.

I read about these in "Bread & Wine"  (see my review here) and Shauna says she assembles them the night before, places them in a disposable foil pan, and pops them in the oven the next day.  I like the idea of a make-ahead appetizer that you still serve warm.  My friend Will puts them on a cooling rack over a foil lined pan so that the bacon grease drains.

About half way through wrapping them with bacon, I realized that my package of applewood smoked bacon from Trader Joe's was only 12 ounces and not a full pound so I started cutting the bacon slices into thirds instead of halves.  When they baked, the bacon shrunk so I put the toothpicks in before serving to hold the whole thing together.  You shouldn't need the toothpicks if you have a half slice of bacon.

Bacon Wrapped Dates (makes 2-3 dozen)

16 oz Medjool dates
4 oz goat cheese
16 oz sliced bacon

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Slice the dates lengthwise on one side so you can open it up (like a book) and remove the pit.  Then, fill with goat cheese and fold it back together.  Cut the bacon slices in half and wrap one half slice around each goat cheese filled date.  Place seam side down on a foil lined pan (or foil pan or rack - see notes above).  Bake for 20-25 minutes until the bacon is brown and crispy.  Remove from the pan and drain on a paper towel lined plate.  Serve warm or room temperature, but not hot.

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