Hot date!

My, my, my…you sexy, sexy little thing. Sitting there with your sweet little self all full of spice. You make me want to just eat you up…

Hey! Relax! I’m a married mother, for crying out loud! Besides, I was talking to the food…the only other object it is acceptable to lust after, and by golly, I do lust.

Oh, dear reader, meet my sweet little friend, the jalapeño cream stuffed date with candied bacon. Excited, much? You should be. How about a flavor profile? First to hit your taste buds is the honey-sweet date, sticky and soft. Next, the creamy smooth cheese filling coats your mouth, while the crunchy, smokey bacon breaks in your teeth, contrasting textures. But, wait, what’s this? Dancing across your tongue is the subtle heat and tang of the jalapeño, followed by a sweet, smoky, maple finish.

Drooling, yet?

I recommend offering these at your next cocktail party, making certain to have a damn fine bourbon on hand to pair them with. Cheers!

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Jalapeno Cream Stuffed Dates with Candied Bacon

For the bacon:
4 Strips thick cut peppered bacon
2 tablespoons brown sugar
Pinch of cayenne

Preheat oven to 375
Spray a non-stick baking sheet with spray oil
Cut 4 strips of bacon in half lengthwise, then into 1″ pieces
In a small bowl, combine sugar and cayenne. Place bacon in sugar. Working with your hands, make sure each piece of bacon is coated in sugar. Please pieces 1/2 inch apart on baking sheet. Bake approximately 5-7 minutes, checking often to avoid burning. The sugar around the bacon may burn, but keep an eye on the bacon itself. When the bacon is a deep brown and sizzling, remove from oven and allow to cool.

Cream Filled Dates
1/2 Lbs large medjool dates
Oven at 375, prepared baking sheet (nonstick spray)
1/2 cup cream cheese, room temperature
1/4 cup grated parmesan
1/2 large jalapeño, seeds removed, minced
Good pinch of salt

In a bowl, combine cheeses, jalapeño and salt. Remove pits from dates by slicing open lengthwise on one side only. Spoon mixture into dates, filling generously. Place dates on a baking sheet and bake for approximately 3-5 minutes until hot. Do not over-bake as the cheese filling will become runny.

Remove dates an allow to cool slightly. Place a piece of candied bacon atop each date and serve on a pretty platter or wooden cutting board.

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