This is our own recipe, an attempted deconstruction of a dish Collegetown Bagels used to bring to Cornell English Department functions that everyone would completely flip over. It was hard to get more than one on your plate given the push of the crowd behind you and almost impossible to make that one bacony little package last until you found a quiet corner in which to sit and shovel hors'dourves into your mouth with your greasy fingers. Life at a University is so illustrious!
Almond-stuffed bacon-wrapped dates
- 12 oz bacon (a whole package) strips separated and cut in half
- 30ish dates, pitted (the -ish suffix because this really depends on how many strips of bacon are in your package. We had 30, your mileage may vary.)
- 30ish raw almonds (I used almonds from the farm that I picked, cracked, and peeled with my own two hands. If you want to be lame, you could probably just buy some.)
- 30ish toothpicks, soaked in water for twenty minutes
Preheat your oven to 400˚F.
Unless you have blanched almonds, the first thing you'll want to do is remove their skins. They add a bit of bitterness to the final dish that doesn't lend well to its balance.
To blanch the nuts, heat a small saucepan of water to boiling and add a dash of baking soda. Toss in the almonds and let sit until the skins start to look loose and puckered as a fingertip when you've been too long in the bath. Remove from water and transfer to towel to cool a bit. When cool enough to handle, you should be able to remove the skins with a slight squeeze on one end of the nut.
Stuff one peeled nut into the hole at the end of each pitted date and wrap tightly in bacon, using the soaked toothpick to pin the end.
Bake on a wired rack set above a rimmed baking sheet (do not use a flat cookie sheet. You will get bacon grease in your oven and you will be sad and you'll come to me crying and I'll be like nah, girl which will be insulting to you no matter your gender. No one wants that.) for around 30 minutes or until the bacon looks crispy and delicious.
Carefully remove toothpicks and serve slightly cooled or room temperature. They should even keep fine in a sealed container overnight.
Alternative version: replace the almond with a bit of pungent blue cheese and wrap as above. I have no idea how this will be but it sounds really good.