Jalapeño Poppers

Just in time for your Cinco de Mayo celebration!  Made a batch for a party we’re having tonight and knew I had to share this recipe ASAP so you too, could make ’em for your next fiesta! Olé!!

Ingredients: Makes 24 poppers

  • 12 large jalapeño, cut lengthwise and seeded
  • 8 oz softened cream cheese (1 block)
  • 1/3 cup shredded Mexican Blend cheese
  • 3 slices cooked bacon, chopped
  • Cooking spray
  • 2 tbsp butter, melted
  • 3/4 cup Panko bread crumbs
  • sea salt

Directions:

  1. Blanch jalapeño halves in boiling water for 5 – 6 minutes (taking care to maintain their bright green color and crisp texture).  This will help decrease their spice/heat.
  2. Drain the water and submerge jalapeños in an ice bath to stop them from cooking.  Let sit for a few minutes, drain and gently pat dry.
  3. In a bowl, combine the cream cheese, Mexican Blend cheese and chopped bacon.
  4. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.  Prepare a cookie sheet with either a wire rack or a sheet of tinfoil.  Spray lightly with cooking spray.
  5. Using a small spoon, fill each jalapeño half with approximately 1 tbsp of filling.  If you have any left over, go back through and add more to each (it’s OK if they’re overflowing a bit).
  6. In a small pot, melt the butter over low/medium heat and add the Panko.  Stir to incorporate and allow the crumbs to brown just a bit.
  7. Top each popper with approximately 1 tsp of the Panko crumbs and press gently to make sure they “stick”.  Sprinkle each with sea salt.
  8. Bake for 15 – 18 minutes until crumbs are browned and filling is melty/bubbly. Serve immediately.

Suggestions:

  • Some like it hot… skip the blanching if you like a full flavor popper! You will have to increase the baking time by 5 minutes or so.
  • If you can’t find shredded Mexican Blend cheese, you can substitute cheddar or even Monterey Jack.
  • I make extra filling by adding another 4 oz of cream cheese, doubling the shredded cheese and adding another slice of bacon.  We spread this on toasted bagels the next day!!!

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