Holiday Bacon-Inspired Appetizers | inspiredbycharm.com

If there was a record for “Most Holiday Appetizers Shared in One Week,” I’d be a shoe in!

Today I have two (almost three) more recipes for you. These are perfect, flavorful, bite-sized treats that will be fabulous for any get-together you’re hosting or attending over the next few weeks. So what makes these appetizers so delicious? Bacon!

Holiday Bacon-Inspired Appetizers | inspiredbycharm.com

This season I’ve teamed up with Wright Brand Bacon to share two delicious and festive recipes. I’m super excited to work with Wright Brand because I’m a super fan of their bacon. It’s premium quality, hearty, and thick-cut. I love a thick sliced bacon and theirs is the thickest I can find. The Applewood Smoked is my personal favorite, but you can also get Hickory Smoked, Barrel-Aged Bourbon, Brown Sugar Flavored, and Maple Flavored. You can check out all the varieties here. All of their bacon is hand selected, hand trimmed, and naturally smoked. It’s good stuff, people.

Inspired by all of his wonderful bacon and my own holiday traditions, I have two recipes to share with you. These appetizers are great for the holidays, but they can be adapted and enjoyed any time of year.

First, a family favorite: bacon-wrapped water chestnuts. Of course, mine have a little twist. I’m making Bacon-Wrapped Cranberry Water Chestnuts.

Bacon Wrapped Cranberry Water Chestnuts // Holiday Bacon-Inspired Appetizers | inspiredbycharm.com

As you know, being with loved ones during the holidays is very important to me. I’m not sure if this is a tradition in other areas of the country, but here in Central PA we go “treeing.” Treeing involves driving from house to house to look at Christmas tree(s). When you arrive, there are usually plenty of snacks, drinks, and cookies. As generations grow older, the tradition seems to be fading, but it’s still one of my favorite things about the holidays and one of my favorite childhood memories.

Among the dishes that’s served when “treeing” is bacon-wrapped water chestnuts. I thought I’d share that recipe here, but give it a little IBC twist.

If you’ve never had these, you’re in for a treat. If you’ve had them, I think you’ll like my take on them.

Bacon Wrapped Cranberry Water Chestnuts // Holiday Bacon-Inspired Appetizers | inspiredbycharm.com

For this recipe, I’m not cutting the water chestnuts in half. With typical bacon, I wouldn’t recommend this. However, because I using Wright Brand’s thick-cut bacon, the whole water chestnut is perfect. You simply wrap a half a slice of bacon around one water chestnut, hold it together with a toothpick, and pop them in the oven.

Bacon Wrapped Cranberry Water Chestnuts // Holiday Bacon-Inspired Appetizers | inspiredbycharm.com

Once the bacon is cooked, you remove them from the oven, drain the grease, and top them with a sweet chili sauce, which I’ve infused with cranberries. Then, pop them back in the oven to finish cooking.

Bacon Wrapped Cranberry Water Chestnuts // Holiday Bacon-Inspired Appetizers | inspiredbycharm.com

I love the tart brightness that the cranberries add to this classic dish. Plus, they make this appetizer feel and taste perfectly seasonal.

Bacon Wrapped Cranberry Water Chestnuts // Holiday Bacon-Inspired Appetizers | inspiredbycharm.com

Bacon Wrapped Cranberry Water Chestnuts // Holiday Bacon-Inspired Appetizers | inspiredbycharm.comLet me walk you through the recipe so you don’t miss a step.

Bacon Wrapped Cranberry Water Chestnuts // Holiday Bacon-Inspired Appetizers | inspiredbycharm.com

Bacon-Wrapped Cranberry Water Chestnuts

Makes about 3 dozen

1.5 pounds Wright Hickory Smoked Bacon, with slices cut in half
2 cans (8 ounces) whole water chestnuts
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup chili sauce
1 cup fresh cranberries, whole and halved
Toothpicks

Begin by preheating your oven to 350 degrees F

Wrap each water chestnut with a half strip of bacon. Insert a toothpick through the center with the seam-side down. Place in a baking dish. Continue wrapping all of the water chestnuts, creating a single layer in your baking dish.

Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes or until the bacon is cooked. Drain of the grease. Use caution when doing this since the pan and grease are very hot.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, brown sugar, chili sauce, and cranberries. (For the cranberries, I used a mix of whole cranberries and cranberries I sliced in half.) Pour the sauce over the bacon-wrapped water chestnuts. Return to the oven and bake for another 30 minutes. Serve warm and enjoy.

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Bacon Wrapped Cranberry Water Chestnuts // Holiday Bacon-Inspired Appetizers | inspiredbycharm.com

Voila!

Bacon Wrapped Cranberry Water Chestnuts // Holiday Bacon-Inspired Appetizers | inspiredbycharm.com

The bacon really is the star of this dish. Water chestnuts don’t have much flavor, but do they soak up the delicious flavors of the bacon and cranberry chili sauce. Plus, they add great crunch to these bite-sized treats. So good!

Bacon Wrapped Cranberry Water Chestnuts // Holiday Bacon-Inspired Appetizers | inspiredbycharm.com

Okay, are you ready for one more bacon-inspired appetizer? Here goes!

This next recipe is Cheese Truffles.

Cheese Truffles // Holiday Bacon-Inspired Appetizers | inspiredbycharm.com

Basically, these are single-serving cheese balls. Cute! Right?

Cheese Truffles // Holiday Bacon-Inspired Appetizers | inspiredbycharm.com

I love a cheese ball. But the downside is that while it’s beautiful at the start, after a couple people dig into it, it often looks messy and less appealing.

With these cheese truffles (They look like little truffles.), however, each guest can gets his / her own mini-cheeseball. The truffle has the same wonderful taste as a regular cheeseball, and the presentation looks great all evening. Genius!

Cheese Truffles // Holiday Bacon-Inspired Appetizers | inspiredbycharm.com

Each truffle contains enough cheese for three crackers. (Or if you’re a cheese lover like me, it’s one truffle per cracker. Ha!)

Since variety is the spice of life, I have two cheese truffle recipes for you: Blue Cheese, Bacon, and Pistachio Cheese Truffles and Cheddar, Bacon, and Ranch Cheese Truffles. Here, I’m using Wright Brand’s Naturally Applewood Smoked Bacon which pairs so nicely with cheese. The bacon is used both in the cheese mixture as well as a garnish to coat each truffle.

Cheese Truffles // Holiday Bacon-Inspired Appetizers | inspiredbycharm.com

While the ingredients differ in each recipe, the directions are the same.

Begin by mixing all of the ingredients, except for the garnish. You can do this by hand, but I find using a hand mixer works best to get everything well combined.

Cheese Truffles // Holiday Bacon-Inspired Appetizers | inspiredbycharm.com

Once you have your truffle mixture, you’ll want to roll it into 1 1/2-inch balls. Then, roll each ball in chopped nuts or bacon. Pop the truffles in the refrigerator to chill for at least an hour before serving, and you’re ready to go.

Cheese Truffles // Holiday Bacon-Inspired Appetizers | inspiredbycharm.com

While these require a little more preparation than your standard cheese ball, the presentation is well worth the effort.

Cheese Truffles // Holiday Bacon-Inspired Appetizers | inspiredbycharm.com

Blue Cheese, Bacon, and Pistachio Cheese Truffles

Makes about 20

1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup (4 ounces) crumbled blue cheese
1/2 cup Wright Applewood Bacon, cooked and finely chopped
2/3 cup pistachios, chopped
Garnish: 1/2 cup pistachios, chopped and 1/2 cup bacon, chopped

In a medium bowl, add the cream cheese, blue cheese, bacon, and pistachios. Mix with a hand mixer until well blended. Form the mixture into 1 1/2-inch balls. Roll each ball in the pistachios or chopped bacon to coat. Refrigerator for one hour before serving.

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Cheddar, Bacon, and Ranch Cheese Truffles

Makes about 20

1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 cup Wright Applewood Bacon, cooked and finely chopped
2 tablespoons chopped green onions
1 tablespoon dry ranch dressing mix
Garnish: 1/2 cup pecans, chopped and 1/2 cup bacon, chopped

In a medium bowl, add the cream cheese, cheddar cheese, bacon, ranch seasoning, and green onions. Mix with a hand mixer until well blended. Form the mixture into 1 1/2-inch balls. Roll each ball in the pecans or chopped bacon to coat. Refrigerator for one hour before serving.

Print

Cheese Truffles // Holiday Bacon-Inspired Appetizers | inspiredbycharm.com

Aren’t they great?
Cheese Truffles // Holiday Bacon-Inspired Appetizers | inspiredbycharm.com

Cheese Truffles // Holiday Bacon-Inspired Appetizers | inspiredbycharm.com

They are so unexpected, but a classic party appetizer your family will love!

I hope you enjoyed both of these recipes and ideas. Maybe you will have to start a “treeing” tradition with your own family so you’ll have a reason to give all of these appetizer recipes a try this holiday season! Just don’t forget the Wright Brand Bacon!

Now, just in case I need a few more appetizer ideas, I want to know what’s you favorite bacon-inspired holiday recipe.

 

This post was created as part of my collaboration with Wright Brand Bacon. The opinions, thoughts, and ideas in this post are my own.

If there was a record for “Most Holiday Appetizers Shared in One Week,” I’d be a shoe in! Today I have two (almost three) more recipes for you. These are perfect, flavorful, bite-sized treats that will be fabulous for any get-together you’re hosting or attending over the next few weeks. So what makes these appetizers […]

Comments

  • Lori H at

    I am pinning the bacon-wrapped chestnuts recipe, Michael. Not only does it look so pretty and seasonal, but I am sure it is yummy too! I am giving you a link to a bacon-themed recipe that I made this last weekend for our annual Christmas party – Bacon-wrapped Potato Bites. I doubled the recipe but if I had made 400 of them there still wouldn’t have been enough for our friends! 🙂
    http://www.thekitchn.com/appetizer-recipe-baconwrapped-80658
    The spicy sauce is amazing too, and I also offered ranch for dipping for the non-spicy people.
    Love the idea of the personal-sized cheese balls too!
    Merry Christmas! Lori

  • Summer at

    Wow the cheese truffles look amazing! I’m going to have to try them and start a treeing tradition in our neighborhood! Love it!

  • DBLori at

    I love Applewood Smoked bacon and had never heard of the Wright brand. I thought maybe it was only available on the East coast. Looked up on their website and apparently Walmart carries it. Just thought I’d let people know where to find it out here on the West coast. P.S. I’m going to pin the bacon-wrapped chestnuts recipe as well.

  • Debbie at

    Those are just darn cute! I am with you, people ruin a large cheese ball and then it is all funked up and less appetizing. Will definitely do this. Still love IBC, Michael!

  • Aly at

    Going over to friends for New Years and I am going to try these. Thanks I have another easy appetizer for you: Take pie crust or puff pastry and roll it out. Cut 1 1/2″ circles and put on a sheetpan into the refrigerator or freezer. When stiff spread a layer of Boursin cheese on each slice and top with 1-2 slices of zucchini. Then sprinkle with reggiano parmesan and bake until pastry is cooked and parmesan is golden brown, about 12-15 min at 350 F. You can also add slivered sundried tomato on top of the boursin but under the zuchhini, I have also topped with pine nuts. Recipe 2: Puff pastry circles top with pesto and 1 large shrimp (cooked) and cut in half lengthwise. Top with gruyere cheese and bake. Both are easy, can be made ahead of time and always come out great. Let me know if you make them and what you think.

  • Kristi at

    Where’s the Ranch in the recipe for Cheddar Bacon Ranch Cheese Truffles? I can’t wait to try this one. Maybe you add a packet of dry Ranch mix to the cheese mixture, but not sure. Please advise, thanks.

  • Dani at

    Michael, the recipe for the Bacon Wrapped Cranberry Water Chestnuts has become my “go to” appetizer. I made them for Christmas and they were a huge hit! Now that the holiday is over, I have omitted the cranberries and they are still delicious! I am trying them for an event tonight using orange slices instead. Will go back to cranberries for Valentine’s! Thank you!!

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