Chevre Devils

By • June 23, 2010 • 92 Comments


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Author Notes: Why are stuffed (or wrapped) dates so delicious? For me, eaten alone, dates are almost too decadent – chewy with a cloying sweetness that likes to linger. Wrap dates in a cured pork or fill them with tangy goat cheese and it is a match made in heaven! I first had something like this years ago at a potluck and have been making variations of it ever since. I think this particular candied pecan recipe achieves the perfect balance of savory, sweet, spice and crunch. Whenever I make these, I get looks of pleasant surprise from the uninitiated and knowing smiles from those familiar with them. I especially like making these during the holiday season. Note: This recipe makes more pecans than stuffed dates; store extra pecans in an airtight container and they will keep for about a week. - gingerroot gingerroot

Food52 Review: Yes, gingerroot just entered these beauties in our Open House contest but we've long had our eye on them. The thyme-spiked chevre and crackly spiced pecans are perfect foils for sticky sweet Medjool dates. Amanda called them "thirsty-making" and therefore ideal for an open house. Notes: We liked ours packed with goat cheese, and advise doubling the filling amounts (if you're chevre devils like us). You might also want to go scant on the 1/4 cup of agave, to avoid runoff and concentrate the spice. - A&MA&M

Makes 24 stuffed dates (easily doubled)

for the candied pecans

  • 2 teaspoons Chinese five-spice powder
  • 1/4- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne (depending on heat preference)
  • 1/4 cup light agave
  • 1 cup pecan halves
  • pinches sea salt

for the dates

  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon orange or tangerine zest
  • 1/2 cup soft goat cheese (such as Montrachet), set in a bowl at room temperature to soften a bit
  • 24 Medjool dates, pitted by making a slit down the center and removing the pit, keeping the date as intact as possible
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Prepare baking sheet by lining with parchment paper and set aside.
  3. Combine spices in a small bowl and stir to mix.
  4. Pour agave into small metal bowl or pie pan. Set bowl or pan over saucepan with small amount of boiling water for about a minute. This will make the agave easier to work with. Remove bowl or pan from heat.
  5. Add pecans to agave and toss to coat.
  6. Add spices to pecans and toss to coat.
  7. Spread pecans on prepared baking sheet in a single layer.
  8. Cook in the oven for 10 minutes, checking and stirring (agave should be bubbling) once or twice with a wooden spoon. Pecans should be fragrant and golden brown. Be careful not to burn the pecans.
  9. Remove pan from oven. As they cool, sprinkle pecans with a pinch of sea salt. Slowly begin separate the pecans from the parchment. If the pecans seem sticky, let them cool a little longer. When finished they should have a hard shell and a nice crunch.
  10. Mix thyme and orange zest into softened goat cheese, stirring to combine evenly.
  11. Using a sharp knife, make a slit in the top of each date and carefully remove the pit. Stuff dates with about 1/2 teaspoon of goat cheese, give or take some to fill the date.
  12. Top each stuffed date with a candied pecan. Arrange on serving platter and watch them disappear!

Tags: dinner party, Easy, finger food, Holidays, savory

Comments (92) Questions (1)

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Stringio

14 days ago Sharon Shade

Substitute Stilton for the goat cheese and forget the other ingredients and you have an incredibly delicious and balanced snack. Even people who don't think they like Stilton love this hors d'oeuvre and it is perfect with a glass of really cold dry champagne or blanc de noir.

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13 days ago gingerroot

Mmm...Stilton sounds like a delicious substitute - can't wait to try them with it.

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29 days ago maggiepcs

I remembered last minute that my mother has an orange allergy, so I left out the zest. I also used some honey to make up for the small amount of agave I had left. They're delicious! I will use orange zest next time I make them for people who aren't my mom; I'm sure that brightness will be a nice addition.

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13 days ago gingerroot

Thanks for letting me know maggiepcs! I'm glad you enjoyed them.

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about 1 month ago QueenOfGreen

Perfect for Oscar's night. They were a huge hit! Thanks for the recipe!

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about 1 month ago gingerroot

So glad you enjoyed them, QueenOfGreen! Thanks for letting me know.

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2 months ago linda

Could you use cream cheese instead of chevre (for those who don't like goat cheeses)???

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4 months ago Michelle de Lima

This has become one of my go-to party/potluck recipes. I've done it with both fresh and dry and I prefer fresh if I have it on hand--it lends a nice, grassy note to the chevre. I also skip the step of heating the agave, as it is easy enough to work with as is.

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4 months ago cookbookchick

The general guide is 1 to 3, dried to fresh. So for this recipe which calls for 1 teaspoon of dried thyme, I would use 1 tablespoon of finely chopped fresh thyme leaves. I thought of using fresh thyme when I made these as I had some, but I decided to make the recipe as written, Perhaps gingerroot can advise you.

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4 months ago cookbookchick

And if you do try using fresh thyme, please let us know how it comes out.

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4 months ago Pamark

If I were to use fresh thyme, what would be the quantity?

Stringio

4 months ago Terry Franco

I detest the pissy taste of goat cheese. blech

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4 months ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

And I despise your pissy, self-important, useless comment.

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5 months ago cookbookchick

Made these for a Thanksgiving app. One guest's comment said it all: "These are FANTASTIC!"

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5 months ago gingerroot

So glad to hear it, cookbookchick! Thanks for letting me know. Happy Holidays!

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over 1 year ago QueenSashy

I made them several times with orange zest, and also tried with lemon zest. Both were lovely. But the pecans, alone, OMG, they are addictive. I now make them regularly for the parties, as the guests cannot have enough. And just finished one batch to give friends for Christmas.

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over 1 year ago gingerroot

Happy Holidays, Queen Sashy! I have to agree with you about the pecans, they disappear quickly, don't they? I'm so happy you enjoy these; I'll have to try them with lemon zest next time.

Moi_1

over 1 year ago QueenSashy

Happy Holidays gingerroot! As a matter of fact, I am eating you pecans right now :)

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over 1 year ago healthierkitchen

I am too! I made these for our DC area book party and I love them. A delicious combination of flavors!

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over 1 year ago gingerroot

Hooray! So glad you enjoy these, hk. Happy New Year!

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over 1 year ago Flanerie

I made these for Thanksgiving, they disappeared quickly! Delicious! I used dark agave. They were beautiful! Thanks for this recipe.

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over 1 year ago gingerroot

Thanks for letting me know, Flanerie! I'm so glad you enjoyed them. Sorry for the belated response. Happy Holidays!

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over 1 year ago Trixie76ie

I made these for our cousin reunion this last weekend and they were a hit. Lovely fun to make, and the taste is amazing! I had a few people with scepically raised single eyebrows that were fun to watch turn into looks of pleasant surprise. They sure didn't last long. Thanks for this recipe, gingerroot!!!

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over 1 year ago gingerroot

Thank you for your thoughtful comment, Trixie76ie! Sorry I did not respond sooner, I am not getting all my notifications and stumbled on your post today. That very reaction is my absolute favorite with these stuffed dates. I'm happy everyone enjoyed them.

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about 2 years ago AmyRuth

I know its spring.... but I'm making these for take along to a little in home cooking experience and I'm looking forward to making new friends with these delicious morsels. Do you think I will? :") I've enjoyed them before and they are so delicious . If you are tempted..... make them! Simple.

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about 2 years ago gingerroot

Oh, thank you so much AmyRuth! What a thoughtful comment. These are definitely friend making! Thanks for letting me know. : )

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about 2 years ago Karlski

Hello, these look/sounds very good indeed. In my country it is not very common to use Agave. Is there a substitute for the agave? Thanks

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about 2 years ago gingerroot

Hi! Thank you for your comment. You could substitute light corn syrup for the agave, or maybe even honey. Just be sure to watch the pecans so they don't burn. I'd love to hear how they turn out if you make them.

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over 2 years ago Angela T. Macleod

Oh boy, these are sooooo yummy!!! Thank you

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about 2 years ago gingerroot

Thank you, Angela! So glad you enjoyed them.

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over 2 years ago oregon cassie

This tasted great but not sure what I did wrong with the pecans. I cut-back on the agave but the pecans were overly-sticky. Help -- any suggestions on what I did wrong?

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over 2 years ago gingerroot

Hi oregon cassie, I live in Honolulu and because of the humidity have had trouble with candy/candied nuts before as well. I've figured out that using the freshest nuts possible is a must and sometimes they need to stay in a little longer than ten minutes (just be careful because they burn quickly). Also, they have to completely cool before they are crispy. I hope this is helpful, thanks for letting me know.

Jampro

over 2 years ago Bevi

I made these for a cocktail party and they were a hit! Fortunately there was an overflow of the pecans, and I have been throwing them in my kales salads and are they ever good! Thanks!

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over 2 years ago gingerroot

So happy they were enjoyed at your party, Bevi! I also love the pecans in salads, or even as a snack by themselves. Thanks for letting me know.

Jampro

over 2 years ago Bevi

These are awesome! I assume I can make all the parts the day before and assemble at the last minute?

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over 2 years ago gingerroot

Thanks, Bevi! Yes, you can candy the pecans and mix the goat cheese the day before. Store completely cooled pecans in an airtight container and just be sure to let the cheese come up to room temperature before stuffing to make it easier. Also, I've found that using fresh pecans is key - if they are stale, they don't crisp up after they are candied. Enjoy!

Jampro

over 2 years ago Bevi

Thanks! I can't wait to make them!

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over 2 years ago lapadia

Awesome, rave reviews, brought these to a party (finally) don't know why it took me so long, thanks for this recipe, gingerroot!

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over 2 years ago gingerroot

Yipee! I'm so happy you made these and enjoyed. Thanks for letting me know, lapadia! Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving. : )

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over 2 years ago Summer of Eggplant

A friend brought these for the cookbook party. Holy smokes, all the flavors you have going on in there are just awesome. Thanks for sharing.

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over 2 years ago gingerroot

Hi Summer of Eggplant! Somehow I totally missed your comment and just found it now. I'm thrilled you enjoyed these!! Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving.

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over 2 years ago Sue Kranz

Made them for a party last night. Huge hit!! Lots of people wanted the recipe, so I'm sending them here:).

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over 2 years ago Suzanne Dossous-Verdier

I made these for a party and while making them I tried one. i was blown away I idn't want to bring them to the party. Delicious!!!!

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over 2 years ago gingerroot

Thanks for letting me know, Suzanne! I'm so glad you enjoyed them. They are one of my favorites.

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over 2 years ago Suzanne Dossous-Verdier

Great Appetizer. I had one then I wanted to eat it all. Love it!!!

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almost 3 years ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

Made these last night for a party, they were amazing and got rave reviews! I wish I had leftovers, but these babies disappeared in the blink of an eye!

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almost 3 years ago gingerroot

Really happy these were enjoyed at your party, hardlikearmour! Thanks for letting me know.

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about 3 years ago dymnyno

I also love medjool dates and will be making these for tomorrow. I am a big fan of 5 spice.

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about 3 years ago gingerroot

Hope these went over well at your Sunday (Superbowl?) gathering. I made them too and stuffed them with extra goat cheese as suggested by A & M.

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over 3 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

I made a variation on these for my New Year's party last night, but we didn't have any thyme (shocking!!!), so I subbed some crushed fennel and a tiny pinch of dried ginger. They were super tasty! I had a couple people who like neither dates nor goat cheese rave about them. Great party recipe! :)

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over 3 years ago gingerroot

Love tastebud changing food magic! So glad you tried these and enjoyed them...crushed fennel and ginger sounds really good - I'll have to try that. Happy New Year, fiveandspice!

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over 3 years ago garlic&lemon

Just made these for an open house. My refrigerator thieves had eaten the oranges - subbed scant 1/4 tsp Boyajian orange oil. And used Trader Joe's sweet and spicy pecans. Fast, easy, and delicious. All gone!

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over 3 years ago Midge

These sound seriously addictive, gingerroot. Congrats on the wildcard!

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over 3 years ago Loves Food Loves to Eat

Sounds so good! Love stuffed dates!

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over 3 years ago monkeymom

big congrats gingerroot! Woohoo!

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over 3 years ago gingerroot

Thanks, monkeymom!!

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over 3 years ago lorinarlock

I've always wanted to make a stuffed date at home and never felt that inspired--until now. Can't wait to try them this weekend. Congratulations on the win.

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over 3 years ago gingerroot

Thanks so much for your thoughtful comment. Would love to know what you think about them.

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over 3 years ago Daphne

Warmed these up in the oven before serving. Confirmed... delicious and thirsty making!

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over 3 years ago gingerroot

I've made these countless times and never thought to warm first...I will have to try that the next time I make them. Thanks for your thoughtful comments!

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over 3 years ago lastnightsdinner

Congrats on the Wildcard win! I kept coming back to these as well, and I'm sure they'll be making an appearance at our table this holiday season!

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over 3 years ago gingerroot

Thank you, lastnightsdinner! If you make them I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

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over 3 years ago TheWimpyVegetarian

Congratulations on a great dish for your wildcard win!!! These look amazing! I'm so happy for you!

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over 3 years ago gingerroot

Thanks ChezSuzanne! The feeling is mutual. : )

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over 3 years ago healthierkitchen

These look great, gingerroot! Love the 5 spice powder.

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over 3 years ago gingerroot

The five spice powder definitely adds a indescribable sweet/savory flavor profile to the goat cheese that I love. Thanks so much, healthierkitchen! If you try these, I'd love to know what you think.

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over 3 years ago TasteFood

Congratulations Gingerroot! These sounds incredible with a wonderful combination of flavors and textures.

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over 3 years ago gingerroot

Thanks, TasteFood! They are definitely my go-to cocktail party appetizer - easy to put together and always get a big reception.

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over 3 years ago cbear1984

I'm not going to lie. These look really amazing.

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over 3 years ago gingerroot

Thanks cbear1984...I do hope you try them, they are really easy to make!

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over 3 years ago Sagegreen

Congrats, gingerroot! Wonderful recipe! I have shared your dreams of orange zest lately!

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over 3 years ago gingerroot

Thanks Sagegreen! Your warm endive slippers are calling my name...

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over 3 years ago lapadia

Woo-hoo, congrats on the wildcard!

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over 3 years ago gingerroot

Thanks, lapadia!!

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over 3 years ago Kitchen Butterfly

Congrats gingeroot. I looveeee the combination.

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over 3 years ago gingerroot

Thanks, KB! It is a good combination, one that I find quite addictive. : )

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over 3 years ago TiggyBee

How fantastic!! These look and sound amazing - congrats!!

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over 3 years ago gingerroot

It was such a lovely surprise, thanks so much, TiggyBee. : )

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over 3 years ago thirschfeld

Congratulations gingerroot. These look like a really refreshing change from the usual.

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over 3 years ago gingerroot

Thank you, thirshfeld.

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over 3 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

Congratulations! These look fabulous. I agree, what is it that makes stuffed dates so delicious?

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over 3 years ago gingerroot

Thanks, fiveandspice! I don't know what it is about them, but when faced with a plate of these I definitely eat a few too many. : )

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over 3 years ago gingerroot

What a completely fantastic, wild surprise!! My day is off to a terrific start, thanks to all for your thoughtful comments!

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over 3 years ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

awesome! congratulations!

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over 3 years ago mrslarkin

Mrs. Larkin is a trusted source on Baking.

Yahoooooo!!! Congrats gingerroot!

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over 3 years ago aargersi

Abbie is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Hurrah gingerroot! These look awesome - and you gotta love someone who dreams their recipes :-)

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over 3 years ago Kitchen Butterfly

:-), the stuff of which great cooks are made is dreams...and cooking them to reality!

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over 3 years ago Waverly

Very nice! Congratulations.

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over 3 years ago drbabs

Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Wow--gingerroot--congratualtions!!

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over 3 years ago gingerroot

Thanks hardlikearmour and mrslarkin! I had a dream about these and when I woke up, realized that I needed to add some orange zest to the goat cheese. I made them tonight with the zest and they are even better.

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over 3 years ago mrslarkin

Mrs. Larkin is a trusted source on Baking.

Yes, these sound very yummy!!

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over 3 years ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

yum, yum, yum....these sound delish!