Last Saturday, my friend Shelly introduced me to what I'm tempted to call the most brilliant pairing of ingredients since peanut butter and M&Ms: baked dates stuffed with blue cheese. Unwrapping some aluminum foil, she handed me one of these still-warm morsels, and I bit into it somewhat skeptically.
I was immediately converted.
The sweet date instantly dissolves in your mouth, while the cheese rounds things out with a smooth, savory flavor. Compact and high in fruit sugars and protein, it's the perfect trail snack. Plus, because of the fiber, your body digests the dates gradually, so you have a continual stream of energy, rather than a spike followed by a sugar crash. I do, however, recommend nibbling them, rather than scarfing, so you can savor the rich flavor. Here is the recipe, originally from Vegetarian Times:
Blue Cheese–Stuffed Dates
24 dried dates
1/4 cup nutritional yeast or dried breadcrumbs
4 oz. blue cheese (you can also use goat cheese or cream cheese)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Slit dates down one side and remove pits. Place nutritional yeast or breadcrumbs on a small plate. Stuff each pitted date with 1 teaspoon blue cheese, pressing sides together. Dip the slitted side of each date into the nutritional yeast to coat the cheese. Place the dates on a baking sheet, slit side up, and bake 10 to 15 minutes, or until dates are hot and cheese is soft. Let stand five minutes.
Now you're ready to wrap a handful in some aluminum foil, place them in a Tupperware container or a zip-top bag, and hit the trail. At your first rest break, offer the tasty tidbits to your unsuspecting friends and be prepared for lots of ooohs, awws, and mmms!