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Bacon is considered one of the most versatile foods on the planet, with Americans eating an average of 18 pounds of bacon a year. That’s about 5,608,654,506 lbs for the entire U.S., which is equal to the height of almost eight Empire State buildings and the reason why there is National Bacon Day.
Bacon. For those of us who love it, it can do no wrong. It is also not a passing fad. We have accepted bacon as a “flavor” like root beer, peppermint or cherry. Bacon has moved beyond the plate as a mere side to a new platform. Once Burger King introduced their Bacon Ice Cream Sundae to the entire country, it was realized that “baconnites” are not a small part of the population. In 2012, Jack in the Box sold a Bacon Milkshake that was on their “secret” menu using a bacon syrup. The craze may have started with chocolate covered bacon at the county fairs, then started moving into chocolate starting with Vosage’s Bacon Chocolate Bar and now there is bacon popcorn, bacon brittle and bacon cakes. And how about a website called “Bacon Freaks” and a “Swine and Dine” club featuring monthly shipments of bacon products along with a matching wine with a “Snouts Honor” label? There is Baconnaise Bacon Mayonnaise, and believe it or not, Bacon Chocolate Covered Oreos and Bacon Milk Chocolate Covered Twinkies sold by a company called Bacon Addicts through Amazon. And Urban Outfitters even sells Bacon Candy Canes.
And the question surfaces, how to do bake/cook with bacon? The easiest way is to cook it either in the oven or in a pan, drain it and crumble for use in basically anything the way you might add nuts to. If you are using bacon to flavor a custard like crème brulee or ice cream, the bacon must be infused into the milk or heavy cream. The bacon, once again, is cooked and drained and broken up into pieces and put into the dairy and heated to a boil and then left off the stove for twenty minutes, allowing the flavor to seep in, and is then strained. Have a go at it!
Bacon Chocolate Truffles
- 2 ¾ pounds of Dark Chocolate Chips
- 2 ¾ cups Heavy Cream
- 8 oz. Bacon Strips, Cooked and Drained
- Place the chocolate chips in a large bowl and set aside.
- Put the heavy cream in a high sided pot on to avoid boiling over and place on stove. Place the bacon, broken up into medium sized pieces, into the heavy cream and bring to a boil. Turn off heat and leave on stove.
- Let sit for 20 minutes to infuse the heavy cream with the bacon flavor; strain out bacon pieces.
- Bring heavy cream to a boil again, and then pour on top of chocolate. Let sit for a few minutes until the chocolate starts to melt and then begin whisking until the mixture is completely blended.
- Place mixture into container and refrigerate once cooled down to set.
- Once the mixture is set, it can be scooped out individually with the large side of a melon baller. Dip the melon baller into the hot water each time to easily scoop out the bacon flavored truffle filling and place on wax paper and refrigerate again until firm.
- Using a chocolate dipping fork or a regular fork, dip the chocolate into either melted Candy Melts, already tempered, or temper your own chocolate if you are brave. Let set; it is not necessary to refrigerate again.
Bacon Bourbon Pecan Pie
Pie Dough (makes enough for 2 shells of a standard pie tin, 8”)
- 3 cups All-Purpose Flour
- 1 cup Crisco
- ½ cup of water or milk, cold
- Pinch of Kosher Salt
- Place flour and salt in bowl of mixer and mix for a few seconds.
- Slowly add in pieces of Crisco until the mixture resembles cornmeal.
- Add in liquid and slowly mix; make sure not to allow the flour/Crisco mixture to become a solid before the liquid is mixed in. If totally mixed, the liquid will not be absorbed.
- Gather dough into a ball, wrap with plastic wrap and chill for 2 hours.
- Grease pie tin.
- Roll out dough on a floured surface to 1/8” thick and put into pie tin. Freeze overnight to avoid pastry shell shrinking during baking.
Bacon Bourbon Pecan Pie Filling (Makes enough for one large pecan pie or 2 small)
- 1 ½ Cups of Unsalted Butter
- 1 Cup Light Brown Sugar
- 1 Cup White Sugar
- 6 Large Eggs, well beaten
- 1 Cup Dark Corn Syrup
- Pinch salt
- 1 tsp. Ground Vanilla Beans (Tahitian Gold Vanilla: tahitianvanilla.com) or 4 Teaspoons Vanilla Extract
- 2 Cups broken pecan pieces
- Optional: A handful of Pecan Halves for decoration on top
- 12 Slices of bacon, cooked and drained
- 4 Tablespoons of Good Bourbon
- Put the white sugar in a food process and process with bacon until fine and blended and put in mixing bowl. Add the brown sugar and a pinch of salt.
- Add the butter and cream using the paddle attachment until blended.
- In a separate bowl, whisk the beaten eggs, dark corn syrup and bourbon then slowly add to the creamed butter/sugar mixture.
- Add in the pecan pieces.
- Pour into frozen pastry shell and bake at 350 degrees for approximately 45 minutes or until filling has “set” and jiggles.
Bacon Cotton Candy for the Brave
Simply process the cotton candy sugar with a few pieces of cooked and drained bacon extremely fine so the sugar can still be spun.
Bacon Butterscotch Chip Cookies
Makes About 2 ½ Dozen 3” Cookies
- 4 oz. Unsalted Butter
- ½ Cup Shortening
- 1 Cup Dark Brown Sugar
- 1/2 Cup Granulated Sugar
- 2 Teaspoons Vanilla Extract or 1 Teaspoon Ground Vanilla Beans
- 1 Large Egg
- Pinch of Kosher Salt
- 1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
- 2 Cups All Purpose Flour
- 6 Slices of Cooked Bacon, Drained
- 1 ½ Cups Butterscotch Chips
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees
- In a food processor, process the white granulated sugar with the bacon until fine and set aside.
- Sift the baking soda into the flour, add a pinch of salt and set aside
- In a mixing bowl using the paddle attachment, cream the butter, shortening, “bacon” sugar and brown sugar. Add in the egg and vanilla extract and mix until the mixture is a light brown.
- Add in the flour mixture and the Butterscotch Chips until well blended.
- Scoop out a 1” ball and press down on baking pan lined with parchment paper or well-greased with either shortening or unsalted butter.
- Bake for approximately 12 minutes and cool.
Article & Photos: Chef Liz Thompson, Culinary Instructor – The Art Institute of California – Inland Empire