Cranberry Cream Cheese Jalapeño Poppers
A game day favorite, Jalapeño Poppers are all dolled up for the holidays with a little cranberry thrown into the mix and a big piece of bacon wrapped around them for good measure. Make a batch of these as festive appetizers for Christmas Day or whip them up to munch on during your favorite bowl game this week.
I really wanted to hate jalapeño poppers. I tried my hardest…I just didn’t think they sounded very good but my friends ordered them at a bar and once they put that big bowl of fried heaven in front of us I had to try one. These were, obviously, deep fried….and filled with cream cheese. Cream cheese is my weakness, it’s just so smooth and melts into a pool of creamy, rich ooze. So, so amazing. The poppers were paired with a pepper jelly dipping sauce. (Don’t leave yet…this is where my idea came from, I promise it’s mind-blowing.) Pepper jelly….also sounds ewww, but it’s not. It’s sweet and just amazing. That’s all I can say about it. Just dump a jar over a block of cream cheese and spread that on some crackers….then come back and tell me. What do you think?
So, those poppers at the bar, I dipped one…reluctantly…into the bowl of jelly and took a bite. I think I may have fallen off the stool, not because I was all drunk…I was, but that’s besides the point. I fell off the stool because that combination of cheesy, sweet, spicy, greasy, crunchy was the best thing ever. Ever. And that’s when I became a Jalapeño Popper snob. Yep….I will only eat the cream cheese filled poppers to this day. If they’re filled with imitation cheese product, you know that bright orange goo, I won’t even order them. And I ask everywhere I go. I even stopped ordering from a certain pizza place around here, not because my pants are tight, but because they made the switch from the cream cheese to the orange goo. Blasphemy.
In order to avoid further disappointment, I ventured into the kitchen and tried my hand at some poppers. I grilled them with fantastic results when I made these Grilled Jalapeño Poppers. (They’re one of my most pinned recipes!) I deep fried them with “ok” results and then I made these Bacon-Wrapped Cranberry Cream Cheese Jalapeño Poppers with ridiculously fantabulous results. And you don’t even have to dip them…and they’re not fried. (BONUS!) But they’re wrapped in bacon so I don’t know how healthy they are but did I mention they’re not fried? 🙂
To serve as holiday appetizers or a game day treat, you can make assemble the poppers in advance and then bake them in a 375 degree oven for 10-15 minutes or until the bacon is cooked just before serving. Leftovers heat up pretty well in the microwave but I can, almost, guarantee you won’t have any leftover. They’re sweet and salty, creamy and spicy….the hint of cranberry tartness is absolutely perfect in the cream cheese and the bacon just puts these babies over the top. Oh…and I forgot to mention….I made these little bundles of happiness with THIS leftover cranberry sauce! But you could use some of this jellied sauce if you made this version instead.
The hubs has been begging for them ever since I shot these photos a few weeks ago. Begging. I’m going to see how long I can wait…..and just how badly he wants them. I’ve been eyeing a pair of shoes for a few weeks as well. 🙂 (Just kidding…kinda.)
Bacon-Wrapped Cranberry Cream Cheese Jalapeño Poppers
- 10 jalapeños halved lengthwise and seeded
- 8 ounces cream cheese room temperature
- 1/4 cup whole berry cranberry sauce or cranberry compote
- 10 slices of bacon cut in half width-wise
- 20 wooden toothpicks or small skewers
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
- Place a wire rack over a baking sheet and set aside.
- In a small bowl, mix together the cream cheese and cranberry sauce. Spoon the cream cheese mixture into a jalapeño half and wrap with a strip of bacon. Secure the bacon ends with a toothpick or skewer and place on the wire rack. Repeat with the remaining jalapeños until they are all filled and wrapped.
- Bake the jalapeños until the bacon is cooked and crisp, approximately 15 minutes. Transfer the poppers to a serving tray and serve immediately.