Bacon-Wrapped Dates with Balsamic Glaze

If my New Year's Resolution was to be lazier, I am right on track. I have increased my couch time, taken a new found interest in 2-piece pajama sets, and as you may have noticed, quit blogging. It seemed like too much work to move my fingers around the keyboard.
Unfortunately, I woke up this morning feeling slightly more motivated. So, I moved myself in my pajamas down to my couch, and decided to catch up on my blogging. I have a backlog of wonderful recipes to share with you from the holidays. 

These bacon-wrapped dates are always a crowd-pleaser.  This time I added a dollop (isn't that a fun word?)...a dollop of apricot jelly, and finished them off with a balsamic reduction. 
Preheat the oven to 400. Lay the bacon in a skillet in a single layer, and cook just for a few minutes to render some of the fat. You don't have to do this, but it helps to keep the dates from getting too greasy if you get rid of some of it first.
I understand that is not a single layer of bacon, I am not following my own instruction. But it was Christmas Eve and all the normal sized pans were being used. After a few minutes when the bacon has just begun to cook, remove it to a paper-towel lined plate to absorb some of the fat. Cut the bacon strips in halves.

Next, cut the dates in half lengthwise, and remove the pits. Stuff with enough cream cheese to be level with the edge of the dates, and top with a dollop of apricot jelly. This step is optional but highly recommended.
Finally, wrap each bacon half around one date, and secure with a toothpick. Lay the dates in a single layer on a baking sheet.
I ended up deciding to remove that one frilly blue toothpick, for fear of starting a fire. That could really put a damper on Christmas.
Place the baking sheet in the oven and bake for 5 minutes. Remove the baking sheet, flip each of the dates over, and bake for another 5 minutes, or until bacon is crispy. Remove the dates to a plate if you desire, or leave on the baking sheet.
Meanwhile, prepare the balsamic glaze (you can also do this ahead of time). Pour 1 cup balsamic vinegar into a large saute pan. Add 1/2 tablespoon of sugar and whisk together. Heat on med-low until the balsamic has reduced to about 1/4 cup (20 min or so).  If the vinegar seems to be getting too hot at med-low, reduce the temperature to low. Balsamic burns easily.

When the balsamic has reduced, pour the glaze evenly over the dates. Serve immediately and enjoy!