These bacon wrapped dates are stuffed with fontina cheese and sprinkled with an insanely delicious brown sugar spice rub. They’re going to be the hit of your next party!
I’m going to be upfront with you guys. I just Googled “Super Bowl 2019″ to find out when it was, so I could share these bacon wrapped dates before the big game instead of after. I’m almost always a little behind the curve when it comes to trends (and apparently also sports), and I didn’t want to miss the boat this time.
Okay no really, if I’m reallllly being honest, I Googled Superbowl 2019” because this girl didn’t even know it was two words. Just keeping it real. Turns out the big day is February 3rd, which is right around the corner! So, not to state the obvious, but you need these bacon wrapped dates in your life.
This is another recipe that I squeezed in a quick photoshoot for on the day when I was trying to do way more than I had time for (that seems like most days though, doesn’t it?). It was the day of the infamous crispy chickpeas spill. I served this as an appetizer at a belated family Christmas party that finally happened in January (Christmas break colds and fevers are the worst!). These were a huge hit, and I have to say, the leftovers aren’t bad reheated for breakfast, either.
You can also prep these ahead and bake them immediately before serving, which is immensely helpful when hosting a party. I stuffed them with fontina because I loooove fontina. Also, if we’re keeping up the honesty, I wanted to use a firm cheese (as opposed to cream cheese or goat cheese) because I thought it would be easier, faster, and less messy to stuff these with a harder cheese.
Actually, I had my daughter help me make these (she’s 8 now…can you believe that?!). She had a blast doing this and it made less work for me…win-win.
About these bacon wrapped dates
If you haven’t had bacon wrapped dates before, you are missing out. The sweet, salty, and chewy situation is completely irresistible, and they pair so well with an ice cold beer. Like I mentioned, I stuff these with fontina, but you could use any number of cheeses. Goat, manchego, cream cheese, ricotta, cheddar, havarti…you really can’t go wrong. I’ve also seen them with an almond on the inside, too. Almonds will add great added crunch and will be really terrific with any of the cheese.
In my opinion, the brown sugar spice rub is what really makes these stand out. It drives that salty-sweet combination home and adds that extra something. The spices are pretty mild, so if you want something a little bolder, double all the spice measurements, keeping the brown sugar the same.
PS: This also happens to be a gluten-free recipe if you’re serving any gluten-free individuals!
More great gluten-free appetizers:
- 1 (10 oz) package pitted dates (about 40 dates)
- 1 (12 oz) package center cut bacon, slices cut into thirds
- 5 ounces fontina cheese, cut into about 40 small strips
- 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
- Pinch to 1/8 teaspoon cayenne powder
- 40 wooden toothpicks
- Preheat oven to 375°F. Line baking sheet with foil and place oven-safe wire baking rack on top of lined baking sheet. Spray baking rack with nonstick cooking spray.
- Cut small slit in date so one side still remains intact (remove pit if you didn't buy pitted dates or if any pit remnants remain). Place cheese inside and close date around cheese. Wrap bacon around the date and secure with a toothpick. Place on baking rack with the ends of the bacon on the bottom (you also want the opening/cut in the date to be face up if possible). Repeat with remaining dates.
- In a small bowl, combine brown sugar, chili powder, smoked paprika, and cayenne. I like to use a fork to make sure all the ingredients are combined.
- Sprinkle mixture on top of each date, pressing down lightly to secure it to the dates. You can also dip the dates into the brown sugar mixture, but I found sprinkling it on was easier.
- Bake for 30-35 minutes or until bacon is crispy and cooked through. Let rest for 5 minutes before serving.
- If you don’t have dark brown sugar, light brown sugar will also work.
- If you want, you can try these with any variety of cheeses. Try manchego, cream cheese, goat cheese, cheddar, or havarti.
- The brown sugar topping is subtle and not spicy. If you want a bolder flavor punch, try doubling all the spices and keeping the brown sugar measurement the same.
This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition data is gathered primarily from the USDA Food Composition Database, whenever available, or otherwise other online calculators.
Husband’s take: I think at first, Ben was a little unsure about the whole date thing, but he loves this. So did everyone else at our Christmas party!
Changes I would make: None are necessary, but definitely feel free to switch up the cheese for new flavor combinations,
Difficulty: It takes a little time to stuff all of these and roll the bacon around them, but it’s not difficult.