Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Candied Bacon

We come across those recipes or food items that seem to be hot and trendy. I believe, though, that bacon is not a trend, it is a way of life for many people. Pork happens to be my favorite meat, and so I can't argue with any bacon lovers. Candied bacon is also not necessarily a trend, but it's an item that seems to be cropping up more and more in recipes and on food shows. Essentially candied bacon is simply bacon that has been caramelized in brown sugar.

Yes, I have been on a "bacon as candy" kick of late. See my posts on bacon peanut brittle and bacon turtles. I decided that candied bacon sounded darn easy and worth spending an hour on over the weekend. Unfortunately it took more time than that because I wasn't happy with my first results.

First attempt at candied bacon

All you really need is a cup of brown sugar with which you coat the bacon. You can add some pepper if you like and so I added a teaspoon of cayenne pepper. Since I knew I was going to dip these in chocolate, I cut the bacon into inch long pieces. I coated them with the mixture and laid them out on my stoneware baking pan. (I chose to use my Pampered Chef stoneware because it is easier to clean the expected greasy, sticky mess than a metal pan is.) In recipes I found on FoodNetwork.com, they say to line a baking pan with foil or parchment paper.

You bake in a 350 degree oven for about 20 minutes. I checked mine and found the pan full of greasy, sticky goo and the bacon partially cooked - like chewy bacon. I wanted it to be more crispy, so I left it in there for longer. It didn't help. So then I took it out cleaned out the mess with paper towels, and then put the bacon back on and into the oven again. Still wasn't getting the results that I wanted or had expected. It was OK, but not great.

I finished that batch up but decided I needed to try a different method, one that I saw on a different site.



This time I lined my pan with a couple layers of paper towels and then put a wire rack over it. I put the bacon across the wires without any seasoning yet. I wanted most of the grease to be cooked out of it first. I baked these for 20 minutes and then took them out, dipped them in the sugar mixture, and then laid them out on the wire rack again. After 10 more minutes in the oven I took them out and  brushed them with more sugar and returned them to the oven. Another 10 minutes and then I flipped them, brushed them, and back in the oven. After about an hour I had more of what I was looking for. Success.

This looks much better
You can watch a video of a similar process done by my friend, John of Foodwishes.com.

The final step is just to melt chocolate, dip the bacon in it to coat, and then let the pieces cool on parchment paper. Chocolate covered candy bacon!

Chocolate covered candied bacon


Candied Bacon

1 package of thick cut bacon
1 cup of brown sugar
1 t cayenne pepper (or to taste)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix together the brown sugar and cayenne pepper.
Line a baking sheet with a couple layers of paper towels. Place a wire rack on top. Drape the bacon across the rack in a single layer. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and dip each bacon into the sugar mixture and make sure to get all surfaces coated. Replace on the wire rack. Bake for another 5-10 minutes. Brush some sugar mixture on top of the bacon, return to the oven for another 5-10 minutes. Remove, flip bacon over, coat with more sugar and then bake for a final 10 minutes.
Remove sheet from oven and let bacon fully cool.


Bacon
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