Picture this; a bright, cheery kitchen filled with the smells of a home cooked meal wafting from the stove. The chef dances to the Pop Dance music channel on Pandora, thumping and wailing in time to Pitbull and Christian Aguilara. Her oldest daughter is in the adjacent school room, hunkering down at her desk, nose in a Latin book, trying to repress childhood memories for later therapy sessions.
The makings of a great date night, right? It is if you’re thinking of dried fruit! What else could stir up feelings of giddy anticipation, overwhelming attraction and the urge to devour something whole? (I’ve heard rumor that couples in love sometimes spend time together outside the home, alone, but I’m unfamiliar with that variety of “date.”)
The date is all the sweetness of a raisin with none of the reputation of a prune. Next time you see the shriveled brown lumps in the produce section, snag a container (without automatically making a diaper joke in your head) and make one, or both of these awesome snacks. And if you can’t cook, even better, as these two recipes are idiot proof (which means I can usually make them without setting off a smoke alarm or drawing blood.)
Byron was concerned I would some how accidentally combine all the ingredients and try to serve him dates stuffed with raw bacon and covered with peanut butter. But even when I was totally distracted by Phillip Phillips, I managed to successfully create peanut butter stuffed dates and my favorite party appetizer, almond stuffed dates wrapped in bacon, without an e-coli outbreak.
First, the PB dates. Follow this handy diagram to sweetness.
My grandmother has made these at Christmas for as long as I can remember. When I went gluten-free, I lived on these bad boys for almost two weeks because it was the only food I loved that I could still eat. (Not really, but I was sort of grumpy at the time and if all I wanted was PB dates, Tony just looked the other way when I came home from the store with tubs of dates and peanut butter.)
I got the recipe for the bacon dates at Allrecipes.com. I find that the higher quality the bacon, the better the snack. If you take these to a party you will be the center of attention for a full five minutes; after that, the plate will be cleaned. You will get invited to many, many more parties so long as you always, always bring the bacon dates. And don’t you dare show up with a bare, greasy plate, bacon breath and a warm six-pack of Coors. I totally can’t help you there.
And when serving the bacon dates, be sure to yell at your children repeatedly to “Watch out for those toothpicks! They’re not swords!”
Now that I’ve taught you how to be the greatest thing at any upcoming holiday feast or function, go forth and enjoy the fruits of your labor.
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