These goat cheese- (aka chevre-) stuffed dates topped with candied pecans are the perfect two-bite appetizer to serve during the upcoming holidays. Dates, eaten by themselves, can be overly sweet, but the addition of orange-thyme-spiked chevre and a crunchy, candied pecan makes the perfect foil.
- For the Candied Pecans:
- 1/4 cup light agave syrup
- 1 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder or to taste
- 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper depending on heat preference
- 1 cup pecan halves
- Pinch of sea salt
- For the dates:
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon orange or tangerine zest
- 1/2 cup soft goat cheese (such as Stone Hollow Farmstead set in a bowl at room temperature to soften a bit
- 24 Medjool dates pitted
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Place agave syrup in a bowl or pie plate over gently boiling water for 1 minute to allow for easier coating of pecans.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Mix the five-spice powder and cayenne pepper in a small bowl.
- Toss pecans in agave. Add spice mixture and stir to coat. Place the pecans on the baking sheet.
- Bake for 10 minutes, watching carefully, so as not to burn.
- Remove from the oven and sprinkle with sea salt.
- Let cool.
- While pecans are baking, combine the thyme, orange zest and goat cheese in a small bowl.
- Spoon 1 to 2 teaspoons of the cheese mixture into each date. Top each with a pecan and serve.
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