6 strips bacon, halved crosswise
12 figs, stemmed*
12 pecan pieces, toasted
3 tablespoons maple syrup
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne
1/4 cup soft goat cheese, (2 ounces)
1/4 cup cream cheese, (2 ounces)
3 tablespoons milk
2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves, finely chopped OR 3/4 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Place 4 layers of paper towels on microwave-safe plate. Top with bacon slices. Cover with two more layers of paper towels. Microwave on high 1 to 2 minutes to render fat from bacon but not crisp. While bacon cools, slice each fig twice, starting at stem end, and cutting three-quarters of way to bottom. Stuff each fig with a pecan piece. Wrap a half strip of bacon around each fig and secure with toothpick. Place on foil-lined baking sheet. Bake 10 minutes. Turn. Return to oven for 5 minutes or until bacon is sizzling and begins to crisp. In small bowl, combine syrup and cayenne pepper. Brush mixture over appetizers.
For dip, combine all dip ingredients in small bowl. Cover and chill until serving time.Makes: about 1/2 cup Serve appetizers warm with dip.
*Blue Ribbon Orchard Choice or Sun-Maid California work well.