It's hard to cook for a family full of picky eaters, whether self-imposed or illness-imposed. Each new item added to the no-no list means that many more recipes that either have to be altered or removed from the rotation entirely. So it's nice to find creative new recipes that are an easy hit. I hadn't eaten many dates before, but I figured that anything stuffed with cheese and wrapped in bacon was going to be delicious. And I wasn't wrong. Go easy on the balsamic reduction; it's a strong pop of flavor.
Note: I added a dash of cayenne pepper to the goat cheese. Everyone needs a little spice in their life.
Bacon-Wrapped Dates with a Honey Balsamic Reduction
Adapted from Honey and Birch blog
30 pitted Medjool dates
15 slices of bacon, cut in half
1 (4-ounce) log goat cheese
¼ cup chopped pecans
¼ cup honey
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
Preheat your oven to 350°F and cover a baking sheet with foil. Combine the goat cheese and pecans in a small bowl. Mix well.
Stuff each date with the goat cheese mixture - you want to stuff them so they are full but not overflowing. Wrap a piece of bacon around the date so that the date's opening is covered - stretch the bacon if you need to. Secure each piece of bacon with a toothpick.
Place each bacon-wrapped date on the baking sheet, spacing evenly on your baking sheet. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the bacon is crispy, and remove from the oven. Let cool completely before serving.
While the dates are baking, combine the honey and balsamic vinegar in a small saucepan. Cook on medium heat for 10 to 15 minutes, or until combination is reduced by half, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and let sit to thicken.
Makes 10 servings