I love snacky little appetizer things. I never make them at home though, except for special occasions. It always seems that little appetizers are so much work, often because each little piece needs to be assembled somehow – skewered, wrapped, stuffed or something. In this case, two of the above. These Bacon Wrapped Dates Stuffed with Blue Cheese and Almonds were totally worth it though. I got the idea to make them at a tapas restaurant called Boqueria in Washington DC. As soon as I tasted them, I knew I needed to try and recreate them at home. It turns out that I recreated them at my parents’ cottage in Nova Scotia for a dinner party, but whatever.
The ingredient list is short. You only need 4 things: blue cheese (a softer one would be easier to work with), almonds, bacon, and of course, dates. You can make as many or as few as you want, just scale the amount of ingredients accordingly. The recipe I provided is to make 24 – 4 pieces each for 6 people.
They aren’t difficult to make, but they are a little tedious. I made 42 pieces, and it took me roughly 44 minutes to stuff the dates (just enough time to watch an episode of my favorite cheesy Canadian TV show – Murdoch Mysteries – on Netflix), plus additional time to wrap them in bacon.
Before wrapping the dates with bacon, you need to partially cook the bacon. You can do this however you like to cook bacon – I did mine in a skillet. But make sure you pull it off the heat long before it gets crispy. If you wrap the dates with raw bacon, the dates will burn before the bacon is done cooking. If you precook the bacon too much, it will be difficult to wrap the dates. You’re going for happy medium here. After the bacon is partially cooked, let it cool until you can handle it. You will want to hold a few dates up to the bacon to assess how you’re going to cut it. I had large slices of bacon so I cut it in half width-wise. I wrapped 3 dates with each half of the bacon, for a total of 6 dates per slice. If your bacon is small or your dates are large, you may only be able to do 3-4 dates per slice. Use your best bacon judgement.
When you’re done with the wrapping, you can either let the stuffed dates hang out in the fridge until you’re ready to use them, or bake them. Just make sure to keep a close eye on them so they don’t burn. Trust me, no one wants to eat a burnt date. And that is waste of good bacon. I ate these sweet-salty-crunchy morsels with a glass of nice red wine, and it was the perfect combo. I’ll definitely be waiting for another opportunity to make these again.
- 24 dates
- 3-4 oz blue cheese at room temperature
- 24 almonds
- 4 slices bacon
Using your preferred method to cook bacon, partially cook the bacon. Make sure it is still pliable when you remove it from heat. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towel and set aside to cool.
Using a paring knife, cut a slit into each date. Into each date, stuff a ball of blue cheese and one almond.
Hold a stuffed date up to a slice of bacon to assess how to cut the bacon for wrapping. For large slices, cut in half width-wise, then cut each half into thirds. For smaller pieces, cut each slice of bacon into thirds.
Wrap dates with bacon pieces. Place stuffed, wrapped dates onto a baking sheet with the seam side down.
Preheat oven to 400°F. Bake for 8-10 minutes until bacon is crisp, being careful to check dates regularly so they don't burn. Cool slightly and transfer to a plate to serve.