Holiday entertaining revs up in autumn and continues into the new year. The prepared host or hostess understands the importance of having plenty of crowd-ready recipes on hand. Delicious, easy-to-prepare appetizers certainly should be in-home cooks’ bag of holiday hosting tricks.
Few can resist the salty allure of bacon, which adds appeal to an appetizer tailor-made for any event. This recipe for “Bacon-Wrapped Figs,” courtesy of the Kansas Pork Association, is sweet and savory.
6 strips bacon, halved crosswise
12 figs, stemmed
12 pecan pieces, toasted
3 tablespoons maple syrup
1⁄8 to 1⁄4 teaspoon ground cayenne
1⁄4 cup soft goat cheese (2 ounces)
1⁄4 cup cream cheese (2 ounces)
3 tablespoons milk
2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves finely chopped, or 3⁄4 teaspoon dried thyme
Preheat oven to 425 F. Place four layers of paper towels on a microwave-safe plate. Top with bacon slices. Cover with two or more layers of paper towels. Microwave on high 1 to 2 minutes to render fat from bacon but not crisp. While bacon cools, slice each fig twice, starting at stem end, and cutting three-quarters of the way to bottom. Stuff each fig with a pecan piece. Wrap a half strip of bacon around each fig and secure with a toothpick. Place on a foil-lined baking sheet. Bake 10 minutes. Turn. Return to the oven for 5 minutes or until the bacon is sizzling and begins to crisp. In a small bowl, combine syrup and cayenne pepper. Brush mixture over appetizers.
For dip: Combine all dip ingredients in a small bowl. Cover and chill until serving time. Makes about 1⁄2 cup. Serve appetizers warm with dip.