Makes 2 cups.

7 slices bacon, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

8 ozs. cream cheese, softened

1/4 cup half-and-half

4 ozs. (1 cup) blue cheese, crumbled

2 tbls. chopped fresh chives

3 tbls. (1 oz.) chopped smoked almonds

Sliced apples, toasted pita chips or French bread, for serving

1. Cook bacon in a large skillet over medium-high heat until almost crisp, about 7 minutes. Drain excess from skillet. Add garlic and cook until bacon is crisp, about 3 minutes.

2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Beat cream cheese until smooth. Add half-and-half and mix until combined. Stir in bacon mixture, blue cheese and chives.

3. Transfer to a 2-cup ovenproof serving dish and cover with foil. Bake until thoroughly heated, about 30 minutes. Sprinkle with chopped almonds. Serve with sliced apples, toasted pita chips or French bread.

Note: The dip may be prepared one day in advance. Refrigerate or freeze. Bring to room temperature before baking.