You just cannot have a holiday gathering without serving this crowd-pleasing jalapeño popper recipe. Topped with a sweet, savory and not-too-spicy cranberry bacon jam, you might need a few extra peppers!
Jalapeño poppers have grown in popularity the past few years. Even your friends who don’t really care for spicy foods are willing to try cheese-stuffed peppers. Add bacon into the mix, and suddenly they are the favorite appetizer at the party. It’s so easy to dress up your jalapeño poppers for the holidays. Roasted cranberries, combined with smoky bacon and aromatics yield a delicious jam that can be enjoyed year-round and in various dishes. You can simply serve the jam over a brick of cream cheese with crackers for a breezy, easy appetizer. But why stop there? Delight your friends and family with this not-too-tricky recipe this holiday season.
Cranberry Bacon Jam
- 12 ounces fresh Cranberries
- 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- 8 strips Hicory Smoked Bacon, chopped small
- 1/3 cup Sweet or Red Onion finely diced
- 1 Garlic clove, minced
- 1 Jalapeño Pepper, seeded and minced
- 1 cup Dark Brown Sugar
- 1/2 cup Orange Juice
- 1 Tablespoon Apple Cider Vonegar
- 8 ounces Cream Cheese, at room temperature
- 1 cup Manchego Cheese, grated
- 1/2 Teaspoon White Pepper
- 10-12 fresh Jalapeño Peppers, sliced open and seeded
- 1/4 cup Green Onions, sliced thin
- 1/4 cup Cilantro Leaves, chopped
For The Jam
- Preheat oven to 400ºF.
- In a baking dish, combine the cranberries and 2 tablespoons of oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Roast the cranberries for 20-25 minutes or until cranberries begin to pop open.
- Remove from oven and set aside.
- In a skillet at medium heat, cook the bacon until brown and crisp. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels.
- Remove all but 1 tablespoon of bacon grease from skillet. Heat to medium. Add the onions, garlic and Jalapeño. Saute for 5-6 minutes.
- Add the cranberries. Using a potato smasher, smash the cranberries until broken down completely.
- Add in the brown sugar, orange juice and vinegar.
- Fold the bacon back in and stir well to combine.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste. Taste for sugar as well.
- Simmer on low for 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
For the Jalapeño Poppers
- Preheat oven back to 400ºF. Line a baking sheet or dish with foil or parchment paper. Set aside.
- In a bowl mix together the softened cream cheese, manchego and white pepper.
- Fill theJalapeño halves to the top with cheese mixture and place on baking sheet.
- Bake in preheated oven for 10-12 minutes, then broil just to brown the cheese a little more.
- Remove from oven and let sit for a few minutes.
- Spoon on some of the cranberry bacon jam onto each popper.
- Garnish with green onions and cilantro.
What’s great about this recipe is that it’s uniquely scaled for you, a duo, or a whole damn crew. The blackberry jam keeps nicely in the refrigerator for about two weeks, so this is a toast you can remake countless times. It’s hearty enough for a meal, delicate enough as a snack, and downright georgous as an appetizer.
- 1 1/2 cups blackberries
- 1/2 cup blueberries
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 1/2 Tablespoons sugar
- 3 Tablespoons water
- 1 – 2 teaspoons cornstarch, sifted
- 8 oz challah bread, sliced (or your bread of choice!)
- 4 oz goat cheese
- Fresh mint to garnish
- In a medium-sized saucepan combine the blackberries, blueberries, vanilla, sugar, and water (covered) over a medium low flame. Once simmering and the fruit begins to burst (about 5 minutes) gently mash with a fork or potato masher, then whisk in the cornstarch until well incorporated.* Cover once more and simmer over a low flame until needed.
- Meanwhile, toast the challah bread as desired — I recommend extra crispy.
- When ready, smear each slice of challah bread with a thick layer of goat cheese, then spoon over with the smashed blackberries. Garnish with mint, then eat!
* Add 1 teaspoon if you want the blackberries more runny, 2 teaspoons for a thicker texture!
- If eating for one, still follow the recipe! the leftover blackberries can be refrigerated in a glass container for up to two weeks, so you make this toast even quicker the next time you crave it.
You can portion and freeze these gougères in advance, then bake them just before guests arrive (you may need to add a few minutes of baking time). This recipe makes soft gougères that are custardy in the center. If you prefer a firmer puff, use 4 eggs.
- 2/3 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
- 1/2 cup whole milk
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 stick unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
- 1 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt or kosher salt
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 5 large eggs, at room temperature
- 2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 2 cups (6 oz.) coarsely grated Comté, gruyere, or white cheddar cheeses
- In a small, heavy-bottomed skillet, add the walnuts over medium heat. Cook, stirring or shaking the pan occasionally, until lightly toasted, 2 to 4 minutes.
- Pour into a bowl and set aside.
- Position racks in the top and bottom thirds of the oven and preheat to 425°.
- Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
- In a medium saucepan, add the milk, water, butter, and salt; bring to a rapid boil over high heat.
- Add the flour all at once, lower the heat and stir rapidly with a heavy spoon or whisk. The dough will form a ball and there will be a light film on the bottom of the pan. Keep stirring to dry the dough slightly, 1 to 2 minutes more.
- Turn the dough into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or a medium mixing bowl. Let the dough sit for a minute, then add the eggs one by one, beating with the mixer or a wooden spoon until each egg is incorporated before adding the next. (The dough may look as though it’s separating or falling apart – just keep working; it will come together by the time the last egg goes in.)
- Beat in the mustard followed by the cheeses and the chopped pecans.
- Using a small (1 1/2 teaspoon) cookie scoop or spoon, scoop the dough onto the prepared baking sheets, leaving about 2 inches between each.
- Transfer to the oven and immediately turn down the temperature to 375°F.
- Bake for 12 minutes, then rotate the pans from front to back and top to bottom.
- Continue baking until the gougères are puffed, golden and firm enough to pick up, 15-20 minutes more.
- Remove and serve immediately.