Papa Bear loves the jalapeno poppers I make. He doesn’t just love them, he classifies them as an addiction. Now that the jalapenos are coming in and the plants are starting to absolutely crazy, the old boy is going to be getting a LOT of poppers. Luckily, they are super easy to make, but I warn you, unless you are on the Keto Diet, you may want to think about the calorie count on these, they can pop onto your waist line quite easily!
12 to 14 jalapeno peppers (fresh)
1 block cream cheese
1 pound bacon (I usually only use half a pack)
You are going to start with fresh jalapenos, I love it when I can get them fresh from the pepper plants from the garden. There is something about getting them at the peak of freshness, sun ripened, and ready for eating. Before you do anything else, put on some laytex gloves (opt for the plain latex, no powder or lubricants – you want this to be clean, but not baby fresh 😊 ) Cut the tops off, then halve the peppers.
Using a teaspoon, run the bowl of the spoon under the seed pod, scraping the seeds out of the pepper. Using the side of the spoon, scrape the remainder of the vein out of the pepper and set the pepper aside. Repeat this quick process with each half. This is actually the most time intensive portion of this recipe. Once you have all the peppers deveined and seeded, give them a good rinse and let drain. The vein and seeds are where the majority of the heat are, so if you want the poppers to have a bigger kick, leave more of the vein inside the pepper.
Now for the good part! Pre-heat your oven to 425 degrees, and line a baking sheet with a stick proof silicone mat, while you finish the peppers up. I absolutely love these mats because they are thick, clean up is easy, and they fit the pans perfectly. Be sure to get at least two because you are GOING to be using them both at the same time – cookies, biscuits, what ever. The baking sheets I use are by Rada, and they are professional grade. Similar ones by another brand are linked here. I have had them since I was in college – which may or may not have been a few years ago (almost 20!). These things last forever if you take care of them, and are well worth the initial investment. I had 26 halves in this batch, so I cut my cream cheese block (still cold) in half, then into 13 equal portions. Take each pepper half and stuff with one portion of cream cheese. Mash the cream cheese into the recesses of the pepper and replace on your baking sheet.
Once you have your peppers stuffed, it is time to finish them off and sent them to their little toasty tanning booth. To finish off these guys, take your bacon and cut each length in half. Using half of one slice of bacon to wrap each half tightly. Place back on the baking sheet with seam side down.
Bake at 425 until the bacon is crispy. For my oven it is around 20 to 25 minutes. The key to the successfully perfect popper is crispy bacon. Make sure you give it a couple of extra minutes if the bacon doesn’t look crispy. The bacon will continue to crisp a tiny bit once you remove it from the oven, but not a lot, so let it hang out until it is crispy from the oven.
The poppers are going to be H-O-T! Not only will the peppers themselves have softened, the bacon drippings will be running into the pan, and the cream cheese will be molten at this point. Be careful when you remove them from the oven, and put them well out of reach of tiny, hungry hands. After the poppers have had a chance to cool a bit, move them to your serving dish and serve warm. They are even good warmed over the next day if you have any left. Since there is no breading to get soggy, fried bits to soften or crumble, they hold up well. I make double batches at this point to let Papa Bear have enough for two days.
Let me know how your crew like them! Buen Provecho!