February 26, 2013

Almond Stuffed Dates Wrapped in Bacon with Cherry BBQ Sauce

These dates were part of the second course of my Spanish inspired, tapas dinner last weekend.  They were the most talked about item on the menu.  When guests were asked about their evening, the dates were mentioned in EVERY CONVERSATION!  They loved them.  I believe they will be used on several of  my menus for years to come.  

20 fresh dates
20 whole blanched almonds
1 lb. of bacon
Cherry BBQ sauce (recipe below)
  1. Heat oven to 425 Fahrenheit.
  2. Cut each piece of bacon into 3 strips.  Set aside
  3. Using a knife, cut a slit vertically down the date to remove the pit.
  4. Replace the pit with an almond and close by pressing together.  (The pit looks just like an almond so be careful you don't mix them up).  
  5. Wrap each date in a piece of bacon.
  6. Place your date on a baking sheet or a cast iron skillet. (I used a skillet)
  7. Brush with bbq sauce
  8. Heat dates about 15 minutes until bacon is cooked and browned.  Keep checking to make sure it doesn't burn!
  9. Take out of the oven and brush with a bit more sauce.  
  10. Serve hot.  

Cherry BBQ sauce
1 small jar of cherry preserves
1 cup of brown sugar
1/2 cup of ketchup
2 TBSP. apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup of molasses
1/4 cup of honey
2 tsp. of dry ground mustard
salt to taste
  1. Place all ingredients in a saucepan and heat until combined and sugar is dissolved.
  2. Push through a sieve for a smooth consistency.
  3. Adjust seasonings to taste.  Some people like it sweeter, some like more of a vinegar flavor.  

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