Baked Jalapeno Poppers

I love jalapeño poppers, but I don't love to eat a lot of fried food. Here is a twist on the traditional popper that I think has even more flavor. Here's what you'll need:

  • 12 fresh jalapeños
  • 12 slices bacon (I used thick cut peppered bacon)
  • 1-- 8 oz package cream cheese at room temperature
  • 2 C shredded cheese (I used 4 blend Mexican)
  • 1/4 C chopped cilantro
  • 1 TBL cumin
  • barbecue sauce
  • latex gloves--REALLY!

Start by putting on the latex gloves. You may think you don't need these because you've dealt with jalapeños before, but trust me, this is different. Deseeding 12 fresh peppers is a lot more than your hands can stand. Trust me on this. After you have your gloves on, slice each pepper in half lengthwise and remove the ribs and seeds. Set them aside on a parchment lined sheet pan. In a separate bowl, mix the 2 cheeses, cilantro, and cumin until well blended. With your gloves on, spoon some of the mixture into each of the jalapeño halves.  

Now wrap each pepper with 1/2 piece of bacon and secure with a toothpick. Since I was using really thick bacon, I par-cooked it because I was concerned that the peppers and cheese would be overdone by the time the bacon was cooked. Par-cooking just means to partially cook it. If you use regular thin cut bacon, I think you can skip this step. Brush each pepper with a little barbecue sauce, then bake in a 350 degree oven for about 20 minutes or until the bacon is cooked.

I'm not trying to pass these off as a healthy version of the traditional popper, just as a non-fried version. I would consider them an occasional treat. They are delicious!