Stuffed Bacon-Wrapped Dates
(recipe serving size – 16 pieces)
For the dates:
16 dates, pitted
6 slices thick-cut bacon (preferably applewood smoked)
1 oz sharp cheddar cheese
1 oz goat cheese
1/8 tsp cracked black pepper
1/8 tsp smoked paprika
Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.
Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and an oven-safe wire rack, laying the aluminum foil down first and the rack on top of the foil. Place the baking sheet and rack in the enter of the oven while it preheats.
To pit the dates, slice each date lengthwise down one side. Remove the seed from within the date with the tip of the knife. Once pitted, place a small piece of cheese no longer than the date itself inside the fruit.
Wrap each date in roughly 1/3 of a strip of bacon (this may vary depending on the length of the bacon). Skewer the bacon to the date with a toothpick.
Sprinkle pepper on the goat cheese-stuffed dates and smoked paprika on the cheddar-stuffed dates.
Carefully remove the baking sheet from the oven and rest it on a trivet or heat-proof surface. Place the dates directly on the oven-safe wire rack and return the baking sheet to the oven.
Bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes. Turn the oven to broil and cook for another 3-5 minutes or until the bacon-covered top of each date has crisped.
Remove the baking sheet from the oven. Let the dates sit for a moment, allowing any excess oil to drip from the bacon, and transfer the dates to a serving platter. You may leave the toothpicks in or remove them once the dates are cool enough to handle.
Serve the dates while warm.
- A great cheese choice is manchego cheese. Use the same amount of cheese (1 oz) for 8 dates and sprinkle a bit of chipotle chili powder across the top for some added heat.