CANDIED BACON is a wonderful slice of heaven, attainable only with much patience and sacrifice... Just kidding, it's super easy and you can put it in anything that sounds like it would be improved by bacon (which is pretty much everything). This is an ingredient that features in most of my cooking from October through December so it is only appropriate that I share it today!
Before you start this recipe, make sure that you have a dripping rack and a deep bottomed pan on hand (when desperate and short on time, i've used a cookie cooling rack, propped over a metal 13 x 9 baking pan). You need this (or some semblance of...) because the bacon will drip grease and fat while cooking and it needs a place to go so the bacon gets crispy instead of swimming in its own juices (if you are cooking anything else, save the bacon grease - you can warm it back up to cook eggs, etc... everything tastes better cooked in bacon fat).
Now that we've covered that, take your thick cut bacon and place the slices side by side on the dripping rack (you can squish them together but make sure that the slices aren't covering each other).
Mix 2 cups brown sugar (light or dark) and 1 tsp cayenne pepper (mix this thoroughly or someone will get a hot surprise!) and pack the mixture onto the cold slices of bacon.
Place the bacon into a COLD oven and turn up the heat to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Cook for 20 minutes, take out of the oven, and let cool completely. The bacon will not be completely cooked when you take it out but it will be candied to the point of burning the sugar if you leave it in any longer. Once it has cooled, cut it into pieces (scissors work best for this) and add to your dish of choice (it will finish cooking inside the dish). Options for food improved by candied bacon include: mac and cheese, pumpkin pie (I swear, this is amazing! but turn it into a tart format - mini-pies - to break up the intensity), chocolate chip cookies, etc...
- 1/2 lb thick cut bacon (applewood smoked is best)
- 2 c brown sugar
- 1 tsp cayenne pepper
- Dripping/cooling rack
- Deep bottomed pan
- scissors or knife (for bacon cutting)