Inside-Out Cheese Ball-Stuffed Dates

Makes 24 Dates

Think of these addictive cheese-filled dates as an inside-out cheese ball – crackers included!
Inspired by one of my favorite recipes from chef Vivian Howard, we’ve taken pitted dates and
filled them with a mix of fresh cheeses, scallions, parsley and crunchy toasted pecans. For
topping, a buttery cracker crumble. The result is an all-in-one bite that is creamy, crunchy, salty
and sweet – the ultimate party snack! You’ll want to use your prettiest, plumpest dates for this
recipe. If your dates are looking a little dry, place them in a heatproof bowl and cover with
boiling water. Let sit for 30 seconds, then drain and pat dry. They’ll taste like they were just
picked from the tree!


  • ½ cup pecan halves
  • ½ cup cream cheese, at room temperature 
  • ¼ cup crumbled blue cheese, at room temperature
  • ¼ cup fresh goat cheese, at room temperature
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 scallions, very thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce 
  • 2 Tablespoons finely chopped parsley, plus more for garnish
  • Kosher salt and pepper
  • 24 Rancho Meladuco Medjool dates
  • ½ cup crumbled buttery crackers, preferably Ritz

Preheat the oven to 350°. Spread the pecans on a pie plate and bake until fragrant and golden brown, about 10 minutes. Let cool, then finely chop.

In a food processor, pulse the cheeses with the butter, scallions, hot sauce and the 2 tablespoons of parsley until just combined. Add the pecans and pulse to incorporate. Season with salt and pepper. 

Using a sharp paring knife, cut a slit in each date and remove the pit. Be careful not to cut the dates in half. Scrape the cheese filling into a pastry bag and snip ½-inch off the tip. Pipe the cheese filling into the dates. Alternatively, you can do this with a spoon.

Sprinkle the crushed crackers on the stuffed dates, pressing them gently into the cheese to help adhere. Transfer the dates to a platter and garnish with more parsley. Enjoy!

MAKE AHEAD The cheese mixture can be made up to one day in advance. Bring to room temperature before filling the dates.

recipe & photo: Julia Heffelfinger


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