Did you see the Maple Bacon Cake over on Thursday Night Smackdown? Michelle, the proprietress of TNS, is a true lover of the bacon and made ample use of bacon toffee on her cake. I’ve been meaning to make a sweet bacon dish for about a year. A few months ago sweet bacon recipes started popping up all over the place. I drooled over the bacon ice creams and cried massive croccodile tears over the thought of munching on a pound of candied bacon. The only reason I didn’t make any of this stuff is because I made an error of epic proportions. I talked about the idea with The Evil Genius first.
Don’t get me wrong, he’s brilliant, but if there’s one place in his superhuman-smartitude that The Evil Genius has a blindspot it is the application of beloved foods in new and wonderful ways. By way of proof, I offer you the examples of him finally switching from Goya coffee (to which he swore fealty for many years) to Cafe Altura’s French Roast. I also offer this bacon-laden example.
Several months ago I pointed excitedly to a picture of bacon ice cream on Tastespotting and said, “Hey! Doesn’t that sound amazing? I might make that this weekend.” He pulled a face that can only be described as ‘blond puppy dog” and begged out of me a promise that I wouldn’t ‘go and ruin a perfect batch of vanilla ice cream that way.’ What can I say? When he looks at me with those gorgeous, evil blue eyes I melt like so much ice cream. I promised. And immediately regretted it as the bacon wave swept the blogosphere.
And then a couple days ago I saw Michelle’s Maple Bacon Cake. And I had enough. I had a pound of bacon, a pound of butter, sugar, and everything else that was necessary. I went to work. As my Grandfather was wont to say, “It’s easier to do and get forgiveness than to get permission first…” Besides, I knew the man would love the stuff. I mean, really, how can you go wrong with bacon?
I whipped up the batch, poured it onto my silpat and let it firm up. I broke little pieces off the edges as they firmed. Ohmygoodness. It was so much better than I had even imagined. And even though I used a whole pound of bacon in the toffee, the first thing you got when you bit into the toffee was not bacon. It went sweet, salty, smoky, bacon. It embodied ‘umami‘.
When Monsieur Le Evil Genius came home he used his spidey-sweets sense to find the tray in the kitchen and had stuck a piece in his mouth and commenced chewing before asking me what it was with a very blissful look on his face. “BACON TOFFEE!” I yelled triumphantly. With many verbal exclamation points. He stopped chewing, used his brilliant brain to calculate whether this was an appropriate time to express humility and said, “Wow. You were right. This is great!” Then he ate a half of a pound of it. I win. But I’m not rubbing it in much. Only when he eats it. Which is frequently. So I guess I am rubbing it in much.
As made with the English Toffee recipe from Thursday Night Smackdown
- 1 pound of bacon, sliced into very thin strips, fried until very crispy and drained on paper towels
- 1 pound unsalted butter
- 2 1/3 cups granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup light corn syrup
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Line a rimmed half-sheet pan with a silpat or parchment paper. Set aside.
Put all the ingredients except the bacon into a large, heavy saucepan over medium-high heat. Go with a larger pot than you think you’ll need because the toffee has a tendency to boil up the sides. You really don’t want that to happen. Have you ever had hot toffee on your skin or tried to clean it off the stove? Don’t go there.
Bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Cook until the mixture hits 300F on a candy thermometer. This goes fast once you hit about 200F, so don’t walk away from the pan. You will regret it if you do. Trust me and the big, sooty, burned sugar mess I had to clean up once.
Once the toffee mixture hits 300F, stir the crispy bacon in and pour immediately into the prepared pan. Use a silicone or offset spatula to gently spread the toffee into an even layer. And do not, no matter how BADLY you want to, lick that spatula if you want to keep your tongue. Again, I ask you to trust me here!
Allow to rest at room temperature until the toffee has cooled and firmed completely. When completely cool, break into pieces with your hands. Store, refrigerated, in a zipper top bag in the back of the fridge to discourage people from snitching it when they think you’re not looking.
What to do with this bounty of bacon toffee? Well, I’m going to make some bacon toffee chocolate chip cookies, and some bacon toffee vanilla ice cream, and I’m going to eat a lot of it all by itself. Just because I can.
Keeps in the fridge for weeks.
anyone try subbing some of the butter with the leftover bacon grease??
Hmmmm. I have not. I wonder whether it would possibly make it a little bitter?
Sometimes I look back through your archives and my brain explodes with joy.
Any tried melting chocolate on top?
have you tried Sir Francis Bacon Peanut bacon brittle?? It reminds me of this. it’s soooooooo good and smokey and delicious. everyone thought i was crazy for buying it–but i love it! and now with your recipe, i can get a similar fix at home! thanks
As if this recipe wasn’t already decadent enough, I just topped my bacon toffee with dark chocolate & cayenne-dusted pecans.. it’s obscenely good. Talk about a new guilty pleasure!
Oh Jennifer. You can send some of that my way if you want!
I’m going to include this in my Christmas candy class. I think a lot of the male folk who are attending will appreciate it!
Reverend Tex B. Acon says
I really liked your blog! Praise Bacon and Hallelujah 🙂
Bacon toffee sounds so good!
Rebecca and/or Val says
Jodee- Yeah! Let me know how you like it. But really, what’s not to like? Candy and bacon. Bacon candy. It is a match made in heaven.
Angry Brit- It’s a kind, gentle bacon candy. Don’t fear it…
Angry Brit says
I saw David Lebovitz’s recipe for Candied Bacon Ice Cream and I want to try it, really. But it scares me. I feel like this is a gentler way to introduce bacon into the sweet. I will definitely be trying out this recipe.
Rebecca and/or Val says
Christina- I think the issue was that our heads were swimming thinking about bacon. It’s all good.
Michelle- You speak a universal truth. Bacon + candy = siren song.
Ashley- ‘Sokay. I’ll eat your share 🙂
Hungry Gal- I’ve heard of the Vosges Bacon Chocolate, but haven’t seen one in my Amish grocery yet 🙂
Aunt Tuna- Li’l Ro loved the toffee, but Leif? He went nuts for it. He actually because he wanted more ‘bacon candy’ and had to wait until the next day.
OK, I’m about to get snowed in and I, too, have all the ingredients and I shall be making this. Besides the candy thermometer part (I’ve never been very good with that), I’m most worried about the part where you fry up the bacon and set it aside. I’m not very good at setting bacon aside.
Aunt Tuna says
Hey, hey, ho, ho
For bacon toffee.
Please tickle li’l Ro for me.
Hungry Gal says
this is total umani. Have you tried Vosges Bacon Chocolate? this is what your lovely recipe reminds me of!!
Hmm.. I think I’ll pass on this one.. *yuck*
michelle @ TNS says
yay! huzzah for your triumph over the evil genius!
no one can escape the lure of bacon + candy.
haha its ok i typed bacon instead of butter…ugh! but yes, im getting a lot of ewws and im not sure about thats, but im going to try it on friday!
Butter, one what of butter?
one what of bacon? one stick? one cup? one pound? i want to try!!