After a day of skiing, Leslie Freeman wanted a bite of something quick, rich, and sweet. She came up with these cheese-filled dates, which make a great appetizer or après-ski snack. She uses Bellwether Farms' flavorful, creamy crescenza cheese, made in Sonoma County. You can substitute another soft cheese, such as teleme or brie. PREP AND COOK TIME: About 15 minutes
10 Medjool dates
1/4 cup soft cheese (see note above)
1 tablespoon butter
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup maple syrup
How to Make It
Cut dates in half lengthwise and remove pits. Spoon about 1/2 teaspoon cheese into the cavity of each date half. Arrange dates on a serving plate.
Melt butter in a 1- to 2-quart pan over low heat, then increase heat to medium and cook until butter is foamy and starting to brown. Add nuts and stir constantly for 1 minute. Add syrup and reduce heat to maintain a simmer. Cook 1 minute, stirring frequently. Remove from heat.
Lift nuts from the syrup with a slotted spoon and press a few pieces into the soft cheese in each date. Drizzle syrup over the dates and serve warm.