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With the holidays coming on faster than a freight train running downhill, I thought I would share a few of my “go to” appetizers for entertaining. Let’s face it: you can never have too many easy appetizers in your arsenal. I tend to keep ingredients for at least 3-4 different appetizers on-hand at all times. You just never know when friends may drop in or you might be feeling a little bit snack-ish.  Bacon wrapped dates are one of my all time favs because they are ahhhhhsssome!

Don’t let their appearance fool you. These sweet, salty, cheesy bundles are a force to be reckoned with–and all the rage at the hippest restaurants.  (Or so I’ve read.) Which, by the way, makes you even more fashionable by serving these in your home.

Who cares that Andrew Knowlton from Bon Appetit says he wishes the trend would just die already? Food editors…huh! What does he know? ;) Buck the establishment! Keep the trend alive!

Are you with me? Then let’s get wrappin’!

1 package (about 10 ounces) of large pitted dates

4-6 ounces of tasty, strong cheese

12 ounces of bacon

That’s it–really. Just 3 ingredients.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and place a cooling rack on top.

Whomever decided to pit dates and sell them deserves a big kiss on the mouth. Truly makes life a lot easier. But hey, if you have a lot of hand strength, and a cherry/olive pitter, by all means buy yours with the pits and pit them yourself. Consider it the strength training part of your workout.

Cut the cheese into slightly bigger than pencil eraser sized pieces (about 1/4″ x 1/2″). Yes, I just gave you permission to cut the cheese. *Snicker* I live with 5 boys, that’s funny stuff around here.

I like to use a stronger cheese to stand up to the sweetness of the dates, but still has a good melt-ability. This time I used Gouda. Parmigiana Reggiano or Gruyère are also lovely.

Stuff a piece of cheese into the large hole at one end of the date. Try to get it toward the middle of the date without splitting the whole thing.

Once you stuff all of the dates with cheese, set them aside and move on to the bacon.

Mmmmm….bacon! Slice the bacon strips into thirds. Take 1/3 of a slice of bacon, and wrap it around a cheese stuffed date.

Make sure that the bacon overlaps slightly because it’s going to shrink a bit in the oven. Place the bacon wrapped date, overlap side down, onto the rack on the baking sheet.  Repeat with the remaining dates. Bake in a the preheated oven until bacon is done to your liking–anywhere from 15-30 minutes. I like my bacon done really crisp. So crispy that the fat becomes dark and barely distinguishable from the meat. My grandfather, on the other hand, used to barely warm his bacon in the pan and called it done.

This is done. Like, really dark.

As in, I cook my bacon wrapped dates for 30-35 minutes. Now I realize that most normal people like their bacon a little less done than I do. If you are amongst the normal folk, start checking your dates at about the 15 minute mark, and in 3-5 minute increments thereafter. I’m guessing that most people would prefer theirs after about 20 minutes of cooking.

Be sure to pull these babies out of the oven right before you serve them. They are better eaten when they are still warm. Don’t worry about them getting cold–they won’t last long once they hit the serving plate!

Bacon Wrapped Dates

http://comfortablydomestic.com

Makes approximately 24

1 package (about 10 ounces) of large pitted dates

4-6 ounces of tasty, strong cheese (Gouda, parmigiana reggiano, Gruyere etc.)

12 ounces of bacon

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Cut the cheese into slightly bigger than pencil eraser sized pieces (about 1/4″ x 1/2″).
  3. Stuff a piece of cheese into the large hole at one end of the date. Try to get it toward the middle of the date without splitting the whole thing.
  4. Once you stuff all of the dates with cheese, set them aside and move on to the bacon.
  5. Slice the bacon strips into thirds.
  6. Take 1/3 of a slice of bacon, and wrap it around a cheese stuffed date.
  7. Make sure that the bacon overlaps slightly because it’s going to shrink a bit in the oven.
  8. Place the bacon wrapped date, overlap side down, onto the rack on the baking sheet.  Repeat with the remaining dates.
  9. Bake in the preheated oven until bacon is done to your liking–anywhere from 15-30 minutes.

 

 

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