Creamy Goat Cheese, Bacon and Date Dip

This appetizer is like a bacon-wrapped date in dip form — and every bit as luxe, sweet and simultaneously smoky as that sounds. Here, as you swipe crusty bread through the smooth cheese, you’ll gather chunks of bacon and a bit of date, toffee-like from a quick fry in the meaty fat. You could embellish further, with nuts, chile or honey, or you could sip Champagne and dig in just as merrily — with friends hovering nearby for their turn.  I love this recipe for Thanksgiving or any winter holiday.

Time: 30 minutes, Yield: 6 to 8 servings
  • 10 ounces goat cheese, at room temperature
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper
  • 5 ounces thick-cut bacon, cut in ½-inch thick
  • 10 Medjool dates, pitted and cut into quarters lengthwise, or roughly chopped
  • Honey, red-pepper flakes, black pepper, flaky salt, toasted sliced almonds or chopped pistachios, for garnish (optional)
  • Crusty bread, grainy crackers, endive or fennel, for serving
  1. Step 1
    Heat oven to 400 degrees. In a medium bowl, stir together the goat cheese, cream cheese, lemon juice and a pinch each of salt and pepper. Transfer to a 1-quart baking dish or ovenproof skillet, and spread into an even layer. Bake until warmed through and bubbling, about 20 to 25 minutes.
  2. Step 2
    Meanwhile, cook the bacon in a medium skillet over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until golden and crisp, about 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate, then add the dates to the bacon fat in the skillet, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the insides are warm and the outsides blister, about 1 minute.
Step 3
Top the baked cheese with the dates and bacon, and garnish as you wish. Serve at once.* If you want it to be meat free you can replace the bacon with caramelized onions.