Monday, January 21, 2013

Easy, but Not Quick: Pig Candy (candied bacon)

Candied Bacon

This is a recipe for a really simple, beautiful garnish – made from bacon.

You’ve probably already experienced the phenomenon that is pig candy, which makes me late to the party - but I live a sheltered life and only just heard about it.

The flavor and texture is that of crispy praline.

It is very sweet up front, the smoky flavor comes next; then salt, toasted nuts, and slight heat at the finish if you use the brand of nut butter that I did (Nutty Vermonter Maple Chipoltle).

There is a lot to love about a recipe where the size of the bacon at the finish is pretty much the same as it was when it started, and it only improves by making it ahead of time and letting the flavors come together overnight.

My husband Dan said that he’d like it on a salad, but I think it is best as the final flourish to a humble bowl of vanilla ice cream or peanut butter-frosted chocolate cupcakes.

Oh, heck – enjoy with cupcakes and ice cream together!

Coated Bacon Slices, ready to go

Pig Candy (candied bacon)
Serves 12 -20 as a garnish

½ lb. Bacon
¼ Cup Brown Sugar
½ Cup Maple Chipoltle Nut Butter (Nutty Vermonter) or natural chunky peanut butter

Equipment: sheet pan, cooling rack, aluminum foil

Mix sugar and butter together in a bowl. Add bacon.

Use your hands to mix everything together so that the bacon becomes coated on both sides.  (I recommend covering hands with plastic food storage bags).

Cover, refrigerate overnight.

Preheat oven to 250f*

Line sheet pan with foil, top with rack. Arrange bacon in a single layer. Top with any remaining sugar.

Bake for 45 min to an hour on each side.

Allow bacon to render a further 25 minutes a side until golden and caramelized.

First Batch
Remove from oven and let cool; turn after a few minutes to minimize sticking. Bacon should be crispy, if not – return to oven.

Store in a single layer under refrigeration. Use plastic wrap between layers to prevent sticking.

Pig Candy

So beautiful -- and sweet.  What I really like is that it is an easy to do, and it makes whatever you serve appear like you went all haute cuisine for your guests.