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.
- 1 pound bacon
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons real maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon spices or herbs, optional (if you wish, sprinkle in black pepper, chipotle powder, ancho powder, coriander, ginger, rosemary, thyme or whatever moves you)
- 1 bag Heath Bits 'O Brickle Toffee Bits (8 oz bag; don't get the one with milk chocolate)
- 8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate
- 1 tablespoon shortening like Crisco or lard (don't use oils or butter)
- Preheat. Get the oven up to 350°F.
- Prep. Stir together the sugar, syrup, vinegar, and the optional spices and herbs.
- Bake. Line a sheet pan with foil. Skip the foil and you'll be scrubbing that pan for hours. Place the strips on a wire rack in the pan. Bake the bacon for 15 minutes.
- Paint on the maple glaze. Now paint both sides of the strips with a pastry brush (use a silicone one, it is easier to clean) and bake until the strips are done to your likeness.
- Cool and serve. Let them cool on the rack. If you can resist.
- For Toffee Bacon, get the pan and rack ready as described above, place the raw bacon on the rack then sprinkle the bag of toffee bits on the bacon. Bake at 350°F until the bacon is cooked and the candy is sorta melted. It will remain sticky.
- These are a real surprise to someone who doesn't know what you are handing them. The prep is a little different than the other two recipes: Cut the 1 pound bacon strips into thirds. Cook the bacon hard until quite crisp, then let it cool. You can bake it at 350°F.
- Chop the semi-sweet chocolate (or use chips) and put it and the shortening in a double boiler: That's just 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.
- Dip the bacon in the chocolate or paint it on to coat the bacon, then place it on parchment paper to cool and harden. Parchment paper works best because it has non-stick silicone in it.