Someone posted on Facebook recently that Bacon activates the same neuroreceptors in the brain responsible for happiness, addiction, and pleasure. Now, I’m not sure if that’s exactly true, but I think most of us agree that there’s just something about bacon that no one can really pass on. (Side note: someone please conduct a study on the willpower of vegans.)
Now, I think we can all agree that (nearly) everyone loves bacon. I am even saying this after my semi-recent rant about the bad name that bacon tends to give Paleo. Just to recap on that rant, many Paleo opposers greatly look down upon a diet where you can “eat all the bacon you want, for breakfast, lunch, and diner”. That’s not true: a diet that emphasizes only bacon as a source for fat and protein would be greatly deficient, since we now know that it is important to get protein from a variety of sources. This being said, bacon can be used as a tool to lure friends into at least trying out Paleo. Just wave a freshly cooked piece of bacon in front of your cardio-chronic, low-fat following friends and see what happens. I dare you.
This recipe, according to one of my followers on Instagram, is a real “crowd pleaser”. So yes, this recipe has been done before, but not like this. These bacon-wrapped dates are not only savory, but have two different touches of sweetness along with a slight spice at the end. These are, of course, great as an appetizer or a starter, but I suggest using them to lure in your non-paleo friends. I promise they’ll give this diet a chance after a few, or a ton, of these addicting little treats. (Also, please note the music pairing.)
Sweet n’ Spicy Bacon-Wrapped Dates
Music pairing: “Drunk In Love”, Beyoncé
- 10 pieces of bacon
- 20 small dates (I prefer medjool)* **
- 1 tsp. chili powder (I use hatch) ***
- 1 tsp. smoked paprika
- 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
- Dash of pink Himalayan sea salt
- 2 tbsp. raw unpasteurized honey at room temperature****
- 20 toothpicks (optional)
- Preheat over to 350 degrees.
- Take each piece of bacon and cut in half lengthwise with kitchen shears. You should now have 20 long pieces of bacon.
- Wrap each date in one piece of halved bacon. If you would like, you can secure the wrapped bacon with toothpicks, however, I think that wrapping the bacon tightly around the date suffices.
- Place each bacon-wrapped date on a baking sheet with raised sides. This is very important! If you do not use a baking sheet with sides, the bacon grease can run off and drip down into your oven, causing a grease fire. If you do not have an adequate baking sheet, you can use a casserole dish to bake these.
- Place honey in small bowl. Honey should me melted at room temperature. If the honey is not melted, you may warm in the microwave, just be careful not to burn.
- Slowly drizzle honey over each bacon-wrapped date.
- Mix paprika, chili powder, and salt in a small bowl.
- With your fingers, take a pinch of your spice mixture, and sprinkle evenly over your now honey-drizzled, bacon-wrapped dates.
- Place in oven and bake for 20-22 minutes. They are done when they smell fantastic.
These are best when eaten immediately, but if you do need to reheat them, I suggest reheating them in an oven instead of the microwave.
*Small dates bake more evenly in this recipe. Since these dates are bacon-wrapped, cooking these is a delicate dance between cooking the dates without overcooking the bacon.
**Medjool dates, to me, taste the best. However, they can be quite expensive. If you are looking to make this recipe on a budget, I suggest searching for a middle-eastern store or market in your area. They generally have better prices on items like medjool dates.
***Have you noticed that I use hatch chili powder a lot? It is, by far, my favorite chili powder. Go to this blog post to read more about hatch chiles. If you are not in New Mexico, hatch chili pepper can be found and specialty spice stores and can be ordered online from retailers. (Just be aware of large markups.)
**** Since this recipe heats honey to high temperatures (through baking in the oven), the enzymes of raw honey will be destroyed, essentially taking out most of the health benefits for raw honey. However, you should always use organic, raw, unpasteured honey, because conventional honey often has added white sugar. In some cases, manufacturers can even add high fructose corn syrup without noting it on the nutrition label. How horrendous.