Let me state for the record that I am usually opposed to sharing non-recipes like this. Thus, whenever I’ve mentioned bacon-wrapped dates as part of a party or Friendsgiving menu and have received a surge of comments and DMs asking me for the recipe, I’ve responded, “Just Google it — recipes abound!” Or, more huffily, “That’s it. That’s the recipe.” But I’ve begun to question why I want to send your beautiful faces elsewhere, especially because when you do Google for a recipe, it’s going to lead you to what I consider inadvisable places. And now, like clockwork, here come Opinions:
Before wrapping pitted dates in bacon, I’ve, on the advice of countless glossy food magazines, stuffed almonds and/or pistachios inside the dates. I have filled them with blue cheese, goat cheese, and, truly the worst, fiddly matchsticks of aged manchego and if I could, I’d take every one of those minutes of my life back because forgive me for making us sound like a bunch of savages here, but I can barely taste them in the end, but they increase the amount of time it takes to put together what should be the simplest party trick up your sleeve threefold.
If I had this kind of time, I’d just make more. They go so fast. Most friends will tell you they had to cut themselves off at five. We estimated my daughter ate about 10 and then not one other thing. Later, I found discarded dates on various surfaces; apparently she’s only into the wrapper. You try to reason with a four year-old, I’ll be over here, cracking up.
However, because it adds only about 90 seconds to the whole shebang, I do like brushing the bacon with a mixture of cider vinegar, maple syrup or honey, and some mild pepper flakes. From brand to brand, bacon can be wildly inconsistent. Some are too salty and need sweetness. Some are too sweet and need salt. But all, I find, benefit from a little blast of acidity, the sugar in the glaze increases the caramelization we are after, and the pepper makes it more dynamic.
Finally, I don’t really care what the timer says; the only thing that matters it that they’re cooked long enough that they’re nicely browned and crisp and sizzly. If not, bake them longer. Bacon should be crisp. The dates will forgive, and usually get more infused and chewy and salty.
Six months ago: Chocolate Budino
One year ago: Chocolate Caramel Tart
Two years ago: Endive Salad with Toasted Breadcrumbs and Walnuts
Three years ago: Spinach Sheet Pan Quiche and Chocolate Caramel Crunch Almonds
Four years ago: Date Breakfast Squares, Parsley Pecorino Biscuits and Potato Kugel
Five years ago: Crispy Sweet Potato Roast and Cranberry Pie with Thick Pecan Crumble and Twice-Baked Potatoes with Kale
Six years ago: Cauliflower with Brown Butter Crumbs, Parsley Leaf Potatoes and Sugared Pretzel Cookies
Seven years ago: Cauliflower-Feta Fritters with Pomegranate
Eight years ago: Dijon-Braised Brussels Sprouts and Nutmeg-Maple Butter Cookies
Nine years ago: Roasted Chesnut Cookies
Ten years ago: Gingerbread-Apple Upside Down Cake and Cappucino Fudge Cheesecake
Eleven years ago: Mushroom and Barley Pie, Mustard-Roasted Potatoes and Walnut Tartlets
Twelve years ago: Rugelach Pinwheels
Thirteen years ago: Winter Panzanella
Cider-Glazed Bacon-Wrapped Date
- 12 ounces bacon (thinner is better), each strip cut into two segments
- 6 ounces pitted dates (about 28)
- 1 1/2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 2 teaspoons maple syrup or honey
- A few pinches aleppo-style mild red pepper flakes
- Flaky sea salt
Do ahead: Bringing these to a party? They rewarm well at almost any temperature. You can also bake them most of the way at home — until the bacon is cooked and mostly crisp, but not browned — and finish them up where you are, rewarming them as you do.
Leftovers: Nah, no such thing.