My husband always asks me to serve these Bacon Wrapped Dates at every party we throw. And it is always the first appetizer to go.
Bacon wrapped dates are a very popular appetizer in Chicago. I think it is because everyone tries them at Cafe Ba Ba Reeba and then decides to make them on their own. The concept of this recipe is simple. Dates are filled with goat cheese and an almond and then wrapped with bacon and baked. The recipe may not be too complicated, but I have a couple tricks that make preparing this recipe even faster and easier.
The most obvious time saver is to buy pitted dates. Pitted dates are available at most grocery stores – look for them next to Craisins in the snack aisle. The next trick is to let the goat cheese come to room temperature and to place it in a pastry bag that you would use to frost cupcakes. This method of adding goat cheese to the center of the dates is so much easier than doing it with a knife or spoon, and will reduce the preparation time for this appetizer.
To fill the dates, I like to use kitchen sheers to cut them open. Place one side of the sheers in the hole made from pitting the date, cut the date open, squeeze in some goat cheese, add an almond, and then seal everything back up by wrapping the date with bacon. This method works especially well with goat cheese since it doesn’t really melt, so it won’t ooze out of the date.
You could opt to use another type of cheese, but I really love the tart fresh taste of the goat cheese. Cream cheese, boursin, and blue cheese would all be delicious substitutions.
I know that some people use a toothpick to hold the bacon in place around the date, but I have found that it isn’t necessary. Just make sure you arrange the dates on the baking dish so that the seam of the bacon is facing down. This is enough too hold the bacon in place.
If you want to make this recipe slightly healthier, you can use prosciutto instead of bacon. Just reduce the bake time to about 12 minutes since prosciutto is much thinner than bacon and will crisp up more quickly.
Bacon Wrapped Dates Stuffed wifath Goat Cheese and Almonds
Dates are filled with goat cheese and an almond and then wrapped with bacon and baked. The recipe may not be too complicated, but I have a couple tricks that make preparing this recipe even faster and easier.
- 18 Pitted Dates
- about 2 ounces of Goat Cheese
- 18 Almonds
- 6 slices of Bacon
- a pastry bag
Let the goat cheese come to room temperature. Then place it in the pastry bag. Cut the slices of bacon into thirds.
Slice the dates open with kitchen sheers by cutting through the hole left from pitting the dates. (Most dates have a small hole through the center).
Open up the date and use the pastry bag to pipe goat cheese into the center of the date. Add an almond and close the date. Wrap a piece of bacon around the date. Continue assembling the dates, and place them on a parchment lined baking sheet with the seam of the bacon facing down.
Bake at 350 degrees for 15 - 20 minutes, until the bacon is crispy. Place the bacon wrapped dates on a paper towel to absorb any extra grease, then serve. You can assemble the bacon wrapped dates a day ahead.