You'll note that I put these under both desserts and appetizers. There's often one sweet hors d'oeuvre at a party. They also work at a dessert buffet or tea. You can pass these off at Superbowl by having bacon-wrapped dates on the next plate.
I decided to make a very small batch of three dates cut in half, just enough for a snack and a photo. The recipe really should be made with Medjool dates, but there weren't any pitted ones at the market and I usually snack on Deglet Noors. The Medjools are larger and more moist.
I had never heard of soaking walnuts, but it's a great idea. They don't get soggy, just easier to chew. And I looked for vegan cream cheese. It's a soy-based whip much like the fake mayo I use. Despite the lower calorie and fat counts, I passed.
The only thing that concerned me about the original recipe was the number of ingredients in a single bite. I was right. There's just too much going on. I'm reducing the complexity a bit so you can actually taste everything in it.
12 Medjool or about 20 Deglet dates, pitted
24/40 walnut halves
1 C cream cheese, softened
1 Tb honey, maple syrup, or agave
1. An hour before assembly, soak walnuts in warm water to cover and sprinkle with a touch of salt. Drain when ready to begin.
2. Slice the dates in half and arrange open-faced on a platter. In a small bowl, beat together cream cheese and sweetener until combined. If still too stiff, beat in water a teaspoon at a time. Place in a pastry bag fitted with a plain round tip. I don't recommend subbing a plastic zip bag. Cream cheese is sturdy and will probably break it. I wasn't sure the pastry bag would hold.
3. Gently pipe a line of cream cheese into the date cavity to fill. Repeat until all the dates are filled and you run out of cheese. Top each half with a drained walnut and serve at room temperature. Do store in the fridge if making ahead.
Serves at least 12
Difficulty rating :)