Jalapeno bacon appetizers are one of my favorite dishes to bring to potlucks. Even though I can rarely eat them (shut up, I am a delicate flower), most of my friends enjoy the taste of fire and bacon and cream cheese and so I never have any of these leftover to take home — a sure sign of a potluck hit.
I barely have anything to offer you by way of an actual recipe. I follow PW’s recipe with a few changes to method only. I’ve added extra seasoning to the cream cheese before, but you really don’t need it. Your palette will have all it needs and can handle with the spiky heat of the chili, the deep savory flavor of the bacon, and the richness of the cream cheese.
Although I have little to add to the recipe itself, there are a few things you might find helpful:
– First and foremost, chili peppers can be dangerous. I have made this appetizer dozens of times without gloves and I never had a problem until I made them for a Friendsgiving pot luck. And then I gave myself chemical burns. I should have worn gloves or used this trick.
– If you do find yourself the proud owner of a chemical burn, soak it in ice cold milk to neutralize the capsaicin oils. I also applied aloe vera and it helped. The oil itself can stick around for days if you’re not careful.
– These are really very easy to make, but they can take awhile. It’s fiddly work to cut and scrape and fill with cream cheese. Allow yourself time or work with a friend.
– Don’t use toothpicks with the frilly plastic stuff on the top. It will melt in the oven.
– Smaller peppers tend to be spicier because of a slightly less concentration of water to oils, but the larger ones are easier to fill.
– PW says to chop your bacon into thirds. Don’t do that. Halving the bacon accommodates a chili pepper much better plus you get more bacon per bite. I’m just saying.
– PW suggests toasting your peppers on a tray with a rack in the oven. I support this, but just as often just roast them on two regular trays in the oven. She suggests this because of the bacon fat.
– I like to leave them in the oven a bit longer than PW says because it mellows the peppers (delicate-MFing-flower here) and I love the flavor of the cream cheese as the outside starts to roast.
– The highest concentration of capsaicin oils are found in the membranes and seeds of the pepper. Typically when I make these I divide my peppers into two groups: one that is scraped clean of the offending seeds and membranes, and one with seeds and membranes not intact, but not thoroughly scraped, either. I serve these on two different platters and make little cards to alert friends to the relative spiciness of each.
- 15 – 20 jalapenos, I tend to use 15 as opposed to 20 because 15 fits in my oven better.
- 2 packages of cream cheese, the softer the better
- 1 pound bacon, sliced in half
- 1 package plain toothpicks
– Set up your work area: sliced bacon, jalapenos, softened cream cheese, spoons, foil, knife, gloves, toothpicks and tray. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Have everything ready to go before you make that first slice into the pepper. Once you get started you are going to want to touch as few things with your pepper-oil hands as you can, so it pays to have everything all set up.
– Slice your peppers in half and use your spoon to remove all or as many of the membranes and seeds as you see fit.
– Fill your pepper slices with cream cheese, wrap in a half slice of bacon, and secure with a toothpick.
– I only have one baking tray at the moment so I baked mine in batches, but it’ll go quicker if you can bake them all at once on two trays, obviously. Pop them in the oven for at least 25 minutes, but I like mine done closer to 30.
– Remove trays from the oven very carefully as a layer of liquid bacon grease will form at the bottom.
Once these cool slightly you will eat your fire and you will like it. Delicate flowers included.