Small Bites 1: Bacon-wrapped Dates with Hazelnuts

Image of dates, stuffed with Hazelnuts and wrapped with bacon.
Since New Year's Eve is around the corner, I thought I would post a few appetizers that are sure to please and easy to make.

This one has been popular for many years - I certainly didn't invent it -  but they're usually stuffed with almonds.
I decided to try hazelnuts instead. They are a little more difficult to stuff but the hazelnuts work well with the sweetness of the dates, so I think it's worth the effort. If necessary, chop the hazelnuts into quarters.

Yield: Makes 12
Time: 25 min
Level: Easy

12 roasted hazelnuts, halved
12 dates, pitted
4 preservative-free bacon slices, cut in thirds

Bacon-wrapped Dates with plenty of space around them. Don't over crowd the pan.Directions:
Soak toothpicks in water. This will prevent them from burning in the oven. Put oven rack in middle position and preheat to 400°F. 
Bacon-wrapped dates draining on paper just before servingStuff 2 hazelnut halves into each date and wrap each with a piece of cut bacon. Secure with a toothpick and place on broiler pan or foil a lined baking sheet. 

Here's a tip; if you use a foil-lined baking sheet, rather than a broiler pan, check it often. Without the benefit of the slotted broiler pan, the bacon grease will pool and could catch fire in such a hot oven. I recommend cooking only 12 at a time.

Bake 7 minutes, then turn dates over and bake until bacon is crisp, approximately 5 minutes more. Drain and serve.

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