12 – 20 pickled jalapeno peppers – use fresh jalapenos for a milder flavor
6 oz Cream Cheese, softened – Neufchatel works well and is lower fat
1½ cups grated Extra Sharp Cheddar Cheese
2 Tbsp Franks Red Hot sauce – use less if you don’t like things hot
1 pkg bacon
½ tsp Cayenne, or more to taste
2 large Eggs
2 Tbsp Milk
8 teaspoons Creole Seasoning – use less if you don’t like it spicy
1 cup panko crumbs, or fine dry breadcrumbs
½ cup all-purpose flour
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a baking sheet and set aside.
Fry bacon, drain, crumble.
Leave the stem on and cut a 1/4–inch strip lengthwise out of the jalapeno pepper (do NOT cut in half). Remove the seeds and membranes and put those in a bowl. Set the jalapenos and strips aside.
In the bowl with the seeds and membranes, cream together the cream cheese, Cheddar, cayenne, and Franks Red Hot sauce. Stir in the crumbled bacon. Spread about 1 tablespoon of the cheese mixture into the middle of each jalapeno. Replace the 1/4 -inch strip on each jalapeno.
In a small bowl, beat together the eggs, milk, and 2 tsp Creole Seasoning.
In a shallow dish, combine the panko crumbs and 4 tsp of Creole Seasoning.
In a third dish, combine the flour and 2 tsp of Creole Seasoning.
One at a time, dredge each jalapeno in the flour.
Dip into the egg mixture.
Then dredge in the panko crumbs, pressing to coat.
If necessary, repeat the process. Place the coated peppers, cut side up, on the prepared baking sheet and bake until the filling is runny and the crust is golden, about 30 minutes.
You can make these a day ahead and store in the refrigerator in a baggie after they’re cooled. When you’re ready to serve them, heat again in a 350-degree oven for 20 minutes to re-crisp them.
If you have left over “stuffing”, add cream, sour cream or ricotta to make a dip.