~ Crispy Cinnamon & Clove-Kissed Candied Bacon ~
Everyone in my family, especially my son Jess, loves bacon, and, in his opinion, "everything really does taste better with bacon". A few years ago, when I developed my mess- and spatter-free method for making ~ Crispy Oven-Roasted Bacon ~ (found in Categories 9 & 15), I felt I had climbed to the top of the bacon world's mountain. How naive of me. For obvious reasons, my kitchen television set is almost always tuned to a cooking show of some sort. As I conduct my business, it keeps me company and occasionally a segment will air that interests me enough to stop my work and pay serious attention.
My candied-bacon Epiphany: About two years ago, I was busily prepping for a cooking class about tailgating that I was teaching the next day. The Cooking Loft was on The Food Network and in the background Alex Guarnaschelli was preparing breakfast. I was interested in what she was going to make, because Penn State football season and tailgate were fast approaching and here in Happy Valley, PA, for me that means overnight guests on a regular basis. One or two new ideas for breakfast could/would come in handy. When I heard her say "candied bacon", my heart and mind followed!
I went off in my own direction, starting with disposable aluminum broiler pans, the kind with corrugated bottoms. No offense Alex or Emeril, but I wanted a zero cleanup option for early mornings!
Next, after making the candied-bacon using black pepper, which was delicious, I decided I wanted to try a version using fragrant spices. I chose ground cinnamon and cloves, the same ones I use when I make my recipe for ~ Super-Crunchy Sugar-Crusted Spiced Pecans ~, which can be found in Categories 2, 6, 11 & 18. My family adored my bacon!
Note: On occasion I do make Alex's black pepper version, stirring 1-2 teaspoons of finely ground black pepper into the sugar mixture instead of the cinnamon and cloves, and that choice is yours. Here's my recipe:
1 1/2 cups lightly-packed light brown sugar
3/4 cup granulated white sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon ground cloves
* I recommend using the best quality bacon you can find and I also recommend you only use thick-sliced bacon to make candied bacon. While I prefer bacon that I get freshly sliced by my butcher, this pre-packaged brand that I buy at Sam's Club is not a compromise!
~ Step 2. In a 13" x 9" x 2" baking dish stir together the brown sugar, white sugar, cinnamon and cloves. I like to use my fingertips to do this (instead of a fork or a spoon) because you can easily rub out any lumps or clumps in the brown sugar.
~ Step 3. Place three or four strips of bacon in the baking dish. Using your fingertips, dredge the first side in the sugar/spice mixture, then:
~ Step 4. Transfer the sugar-coated bacon to the disposable aluminum pans. Continue this process until all of the slices have been coated and transferred. Eight slices of bacon will fit, nicely, side-by-side on each pan.
~ Step 5. Evenly sprinkle about 1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) of additional sugar mixture over the tops of bacon in each pan, meaning: 1/4 cup per pan.
Note: For extra crispness, after 20 minutes of roasting remove the pans from the oven, tilt them gently and allow the hot liquids to drain out into a bowl. Discard liquids after they cool. Return bacon to oven and finish roasting.
~ Step 7. Remove pans of bacon from oven and set aside for about 5-6 minutes. Serve hot, warm or cool it completely in the pans. Whatever temperature you are serving it at: if you are layering it on a plate, separate the layers with paper towels.
If you thought everything tastes better with bacon...
just wait until you try candied bacon!!!
Special Equipment List: 13" x 9" x 2" baking dish; 2, 11 3/4" x 8 1/2" x 1 1/4" disposable aluminum broiler pans w/corrugated bottoms; paper towels
Eat it with your French toast for breakfast, slice it into a salad for lunch or atop a juicy hamburger for dinner. It's pictured here in ~ My Roasted Beet, Candied Bacon, Shaved Onion & Creamy-Dreamy Horseradish-Dressed Steak Salad ~, which you can find in Category 2!
"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti
(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2011)