Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Jalapeño-Cheddar-Bacon Pops!

This extremely unhealthy appetizer was inspired by this post on The Kitchn. I used mascarpone instead of cream cheese because that's what I had on hand. I also added some extra cheesy goodness to the filling, and of course, peppers! This recipe can be played around with in so many ways. Please experiment and let me know about your own variations!

Total Time: about 30 minutes
Makes about 16 pops

8 slices bacon
1/4 C sliced almonds, toasted (or nuts of your choice)
2 Tbsp chopped thyme (or herbs of your choice)
4 oz goat cheese
3 oz mascarpone
1/4 C grated cheddar
1 jalapeño, chopped and seeded if you wish
freshly ground black pepper
lollipop sticks or wooden skewers

Cook the bacon until crispy--you can do this any way you wish; I like to put mine on a half sheet pan and cook in the oven at 400F. Whatever you do, save your bacon fat for a later use because there's just no sense in throwing out any of that greasy goodness. When the bacon is cooked, dot it with paper towels to remove extra grease and break it into pieces in a food processor. Add to the food processor the herbs and nuts and process until fine. Remove the bacon mixture from the processor bowl and set aside.

Add to the processor (you can clean it out if you want, but there's no need to) the cheeses, jalapeño, and black pepper. Process until well combined and the cheese are nice and creamy. Remove the bowl from the machine and take out the blade. Use a small ice cream scoop (aren't those great?) to create balls of cheesy filling, roll each ball in the bacon-herb-nut coating, and place on a cookie sheet or large plate.

At this point your pops will probably start to soften, so place the cookie sheet into the freezer for a few minutes before moving on. Once the pops are cold again, place a lollipop stick or skewer about half of the way through each ball. Place them back on the cookie sheet or plate and refrigerate until you're ready to serve.

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