Bacon-Wrapped Caramelized Onion & Brown Sugar Jalapeño Poppers

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It’s very rare that I decide to wing it with a bright idea and the end result tastes perfect, so this experiment is worth writing about. Granted, the final presentation can use some work but I’m no chef or food stylist so give me a pass on that one.

This whole idea came about when this Super Bowl morning I was kind of hung-over and wanted to make bacon and caramelized onion dip but I had cream cheese instead of sour cream, and a bag of jalapeños. The game plan: Make the dip with cream cheese and add brown sugar, stuff it into jalapeños, wrap those suckers in bacon and away we go. The idea to include brown sugar in this concoction comes from the girlfriend of a friend of ours who is southern, and makes her bacon with a brown sugar and cayenne glaze. Bacon + brown sugar + spice = GET IN MY BELLY. It’s really fantastic and I highly recommend it.

Because I’m the king of bright ideas I decided to process the jalapeños and caramelize the onions at the same time. I don’t recommend this. I recommend making the filling in advance, then processing the jalapeños, and then assembling everything in a calm and organized manner, i.e. the opposite of what I did this morning. I spent the morning running between the stove and the prep area wearing one plastic glove and a frantic expression while wildly waving stirring utensils around. Did I mention that I was simultaneously making wing sauce? It was bonkers. Don’t be bonkers.

I’m going to list all the ingredients needed and then break the instructions up into sections including the ingredients needed for that step. Seems logical.

ALL INGREDIENTS:

2 medium onions sliced thin
1 TBS butter
1 TBS vegetable oil
1 tsp brown sugar
½ tsp salt
8oz cream cheese at room temp
1 tsp salt
1 tsp fresh cracked pepper
1 TBS brown sugar (or more if you want it)
1 lb japaleños
1 lb bacon
toothpicks (not for eating, for anchoring)
plastic gloves (if you’re like me and always seem to touch your eyes after touching hot peppers)

For the caramelized onions in the filling:
Melt together the butter, oil, 1 tsp brown sugar and ½ tsp salt.

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Add onions and toss to coat. Cook over medium heat stirring frequently until very brown and soft, aka caramelized. Takes about 40 minutes, don’t turn your back.

browning nicely
browning nicely
That's what I call done, folks.
That’s what I call done, folks.

For the cream cheese filling:

Stir the caramelized onions in with the softened cream cheese until well combined.

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Add 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp pepper, and 1TBS brown sugar and continue to combine until everything is evenly distributed and the cream cheese has turned a nice light brown color.

spice time
spice time
all mixed up
all mixed up

Set aside until needed.

Preheat the oven to 375 and while it warms process the jalapeños by cutting them in half and removing the seeds and ribs.

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I did a very sloppy job due to the running back and forth. I also forgot that presentation wise it’d be prettier to leave the stems on. Whatever they taste awesome (I tell myself that every time I realize I did something wrong). Evenly space the jalapeños on a foil lined baking sheet.

Fill each jalapeño half with the cream cheese filling.

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Wrap each jalapeño with bacon. I used 1/3 of a slice for the skinny jalapeños and ½ a slice for the bigger ones. Anchor the bacon with a toothpick.

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Bake the poppers for 20-25 minutes, and then finish under the broiler for however long it takes for the top to get crispy and gorgeous. Keep your eye on them, and be aware that your oven will probably fill your kitchen with smoke when you open the door. Ski goggles may be helpful. Serve hot or at room temperature. I prefer not having molten lava cream cheese burns so I opted for room temp.

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Side note from my mom: she wants me to acknowledge that one day I will turn 30 and I will become health conscious. My retort was: I’m also the one bringing a veggie tray to the Super Bowl party, so there. Bacon on my friends!

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