I made this appetizer for Thanksgiving last week but it would be great for any of the upcoming Holiday gatherings you may have in the next month or two. It may not be the most visually appealing plate of food or the most colorful but it's easy, doesn't require a lot of ingredients or time and the most important thing is it is delicious! There wasn't a single one left on the plate when it was time to clean up. There is something about the salty crispy bacon paired with the sweet sticky date that makes for an amazing marriage of flavors in your mouth. Stuffing them with creamy blue cheese or a crunchy almond only put this holiday favorite over the top. I have to thank my good friend Katie for introducing this appetizer to me if it wasn't for her love of Cross Fit and her strict Paleo diet I never would've found these delicious little treats :)
12 oz Package of Low Sodium Bacon
12 oz Pitted Dates
1/4 lbs Crumbled Reduced Fat Blue Cheese
3-4 oz Whole Almonds
1/3 Cup Brown Sugar
Makes about 50
You can obviously adjust the amounts of the ingredients depending on how many of these you want to make. You can also choose to use just one filling or both whatever you think suits your crowd the best. I knew some of our family members wouldn't like blue cheese so I went with both options. Start by preheating the oven to 375 F. Slice the dates down the middle to open one side up but be careful not to cut it in half. You'll find that some of them still have part of the pit inside so make sure you remove that as well.
Stuff either 2 whole almonds or a Tsp of Crumbled Blue Cheese into each and every sliced date. Try to close the date the best you can once you've stuffed it. Be aware that your hands and knife will be very sticky by the end of this process. When all the dates have been stuffed set them aside.
Line up your plate of dates, a cutting board with the package of bacon and your empty baking tray. Take a few pieces of bacon at a time and cut them into even thirds.
Take each stuffed date and with one small piece of bacon wrap it around the date entirely so that the bacon overlaps itself completely covering the date and its stuffing.
Place the seam of the bacon down onto the baking tray. Repeat this step lining up the dates until you have wrapped each and every one. You can put them pretty close together since they won't be expanding. Sprinkle the entire baking tray with the brown sugar.
Bake for 25 minutes in total. Since I took these with me to Thanksgiving I cooked them for about 15 minutes at home and then finished them for the last 10 minutes right before they were about to be served. Either way make sure the bacon is cooked and crispy, and the filling is warmed. Serve immediately.
Enjoy!! - Nicole
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