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Devils on Horseback: Bacon Wrapped Dates with Spicy Maple Rosemary Glaze

These bacon wrapped dates, also called devils on horseback, are the ULTIMATE party appetizer! Crispy, salty bacon surrounds sweet dates that are stuffed with creamy goat cheese and crunchy almonds. A maple chili rosemary glaze takes the dates over the top. Use meaty bacon for this recipe, as if it’s too fatty it tends to fall apart (I suggest buying a bit extra, just in case any slices tear). All ovens are different, so keep an eye on the dates towards the end of cooking (be sure to check out the tips below). Feel free to cut this recipe in half for smaller gatherings. Don't miss the step-by-step video above!
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time50 mins
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: American
Keyword: bacon wrapped dates recipe, devils on horseback, devils on horseback recipe
Servings: 24 stuffed dates

Equipment

  • Rimmed baking sheet

Ingredients

Stuffed Dates

  • 24 Medjool dates
  • 3 ounces goat cheese
  • 24 roasted salted almonds
  • 12 slices (12 ounces) bacon (not thick-cut), cut in half crosswise

Maple Rosemary Glaze

  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped rosemary
  • ½ teaspoon Aleppo pepper or red pepper flakes

For serving

  • Flaky Sea Salt

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 375˚F (190˚C). Line a large rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil.
  • Slice the dates open lengthwise on one side (being sure not to slice all the way through the date). Remove the pits.
  • Stuff each date with about ½ teaspoon of goat cheese, and nestle an almond in the middle. Gently squeeze the dates shut (they won't close all the way). Wrap each date in a half piece of bacon and secure with a toothpick. Arrange the stuffed dates on the baking sheet. Do Ahead: At this point the dates can be covered with plastic wrap and refrigerated for up to 1 day before cooking.
  • In a small bowl, stir together the maple syrup, rosemary and Aleppo pepper (if you like things spicy, feel free to add more to taste!).
  • Bake the dates for 10 minutes. Flip the dates over, and bake them for another 10 minutes.
  • Remove the pan from the oven and brush the dates with some of the glaze (you won’t need all of it—the rest will be used later). Bake for another 5 minutes. 
  • Flip the dates over one more time (now they’ll be how they started) and brush with more glaze. Bake until browned, 4-6 minutes longer. Immediately transfer the dates to a serving platter and brush with any remaining glaze (you might not need it all). Sprinkle with flaky sea salt. Let the dates cool for 5-10 minutes before serving. 

Notes

Do Ahead: You can refrigerate the stuffed dates for up to 1 day before baking (arrange them on the baking sheet and cover them with plastic wrap). You may need to increase the baking time slightly.
Tips:
  • It’s best to use medjool dates in this recipe, which have a delicious caramel-like flavor and are bigger than regular dates, making them easier to stuff. 
  • Be sure to use a rimmed baking sheet so that the bacon grease doesn’t drip off the pan. Also, line the baking sheet with aluminum foil, which will prevent the dates from sticking and will make clean-up a breeze. 
  • Buy meaty bacon for this recipe—if the bacon is too fatty it tends to fall apart. Don’t buy thick-cut bacon, which won’t wrap well or turn crisp. 
  • The glaze gets a touch of heat from Aleppo pepper, which has a subtly sweet spice. However, you can use red pepper flakes instead. If you like things spicy, increase the quantity to 1 teaspoon. 
  • It's important to turn the dates occasionally during cooking (as directed) to ensure even browning.
  • A sprinkle of flaky sea salt (such as Maldon) at the end provides a delicious crunch and balances the flavors, but you can omit it, if you prefer.