Want an appetizer that will dazzle yet is incredibly easy to prepare? Spiced Bacon Wrapped Dates with Almonds are sweet Medjool dates stuffed with almonds, wrapped in bacon, sprinkled with spice, then baked until crisp. The combination of textures range from crispy to chewy to crunchy all in one bite.
I purchased a package of dates for a recipe I was developing and had a bunch leftover. I was looking for some good alternatives to bring to a football party. I figured I couldn’t go wrong trying a simple appetizer of a date wrapped in bacon. In fact, anything wrapped in a bacon was going to score me a win.
I wanted to kick it up a notch by stuffing the date with an almond, then sprinkling some spicy heat to bring it to another level. Using just a touch of chili powder, cayenne, and cinnamon would pair nicely with the saltiness of the bacon, yet contrast with the sweetness of the date. The combination of these spices creates an explosion of flavor. I use similar spices for my roasted spiced sweet potatoes and those are incredibly addicting.
It’s funny watching the facial expression of someone trying these for the first time. First, you get the – what the heck is this –face consisting of a squint of the eye with a frown of the face. Next comes a tilt of the head, wondering if they should give it a try. Finally, after taking a bite, comes a look of surprise followed by a smile.
These sophisticated little bites are quite simple to prepare:
- Stuff a date with an almond
- Sprinkle the spices over the bacon
- Wrap the stuffed date with the bacon
- Secure with a toothpick and place on a baking sheet on its side
- Bake for 10 minutes, then turn over and bake until bacon is crisp
As for the bacon, I recommend using thin bacon which results in a crispy outcome. Thicker bacon takes longer to cook and becomes a little harder and chewy rather than crispy and crunchy. Seriously, whichever you use – thick or thin – it will be delicious. Slicing the uncooked bacon in half still ensures the bacon fully encases the date with a slight overlap. You want that slight overlap since the bacon shrinks a little when cooked and you don’t want the bacon to separate from the date.
When I first made this, I wrapped the date with bacon then sprinkled the wrapped date with the spices. The dates looked overdone and burnt even though they weren’t. They still tasted delicious, but they weren’t much to look at, and as we all know, we first eat with our eyes. Here’s how they looked. Pretty, huh?
To get around this, before wrapping the dates, sprinkle the bacon with the seasonings, then wrap the dates.
Serve these bacon wrapped dates with almonds at your next get together and watch them disappear.
Want some other great appetizers? Check out these.
Be happy, eat well…
Bacon Wrapped Dates with Almonds
- 24 Medjool dates pitted
- 24 whole almonds
- 12 slices bacon, preferably thin cut in half, lengthwise
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- Preheat oven 400 degrees.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment.
- Combine the spices in a small bowl, then sprinkle over the top of each slice of bacon.
- Stuff each date with an almond. Place the date on top of the spiced bacon. Wrap date with bacon and secure with a toothpick.
- Transfer dates to baking sheet and lay on its side. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove pan from oven and use the toothpick to turn over each date and bake another 7 - 10 minutes or until bacon is crisp.
- Transfer the dates to a plate lined with paper towels to drain.
- Let cool a few minutes and serve.