Having Fun With Candied Bacon
The saltiness of bacon is a perfect foil and contrast to sweetness. The French call this surprising combo sucre et sale, or sweet and salt. There are several ways to put the concept to work, and of course it is best with home made bacon:
Brown sugar bacon (above, the three slices on the right)
Put this on your next bacon cheeseburger. Line a pan with foil and place a wire rack above the foil (skip the foil and you'll be scrubbing that pan for hours). Lay the strips of raw bacon on the rack, pack wads of brown sugar on each strip. If you wish, sprinkle with black pepper, chipotle powder, ancho powder, coriander, rosemary, thyme, ginger, or whatever else moves you. Preheat and bake at 400°F. The sugar never gets hard and remains sticky. It is best at room temp, after about 30 minutes of cooling (just try keeping your hads off for 30 minutes).
Toffee bacon (above, three slices on the left)
Find Heath Bits 'O Brickle Toffee Bits on the baking aisle of your grocery (there are two flavors, don't get the one with milk chocolate). Line a pan with foil, place a rack above, put the raw bacon on the rack, sprinkle the Heath bits on the bacon, preheat and bake at 400°F until the bacon is cooked and the candy is sorta melted. As with the brown sugar bacon, it will remain sticky.
Mud pigs are a real surprise to someone who doesn't know what you are handing them. Cut bacon strips into thirds, cook it, then dip it in melted chocolate.
To make the best melted chocolate, take 8 ounces of chopped semi-sweet chocolate and 1 tablespoon of shortening like Crisco (don't use other oils or butter), and put them in a metal bowl sitting on top of a pot of simmering water so only steam contacts the bottom of the bowl. Stir constantly until the chocolate is melted and smooth. Then dip the bacon in to coat and place it on parchment paper to cool and harden. Parchment paper works best because it has non-stick silicone in it.
This article was revised 8/18/2012
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