part two of recipes from the bacon showdown covers my experimentation with the bacon dessert world. irene, as you and i know from the sweet corn-maple-bacon cupcakes incident, people do not necessarily enjoy their desserts tasting like meat. why this is, i do not know. however, the foodie crowd attending the bacon smackdown was definitely primed and ready for some sweet bacon experimentation.
i was having trouble selecting a single dessert recipe, so i ended up making two bacon dessert items plus a bacon cocktail (considered but discarded ideas included a maple bacon bread pudding, candied bacon popcorn, and maple icecream with bacon bits…i’ll save those for the rematch). two of the dishes included the fabulous duo bacon and bourbon together. here’s a photo of the new BFFs for life.
i really wanted to try chocolate dipped bacon, so i bought some really good dark chocolate in huge chunks from rainbow. i wanted to add something else to bridge the salty/sweet divide between the bacon and chocolate, which made me think of peanuts. one of the most effective uses of salt in a dessert i’ve seen was the ‘elvis has left the building’ dish from spork featuring bananas, peanut butter, vanilla ice cream, and caramel sauce and it was definitely brought to the next level with a sprinkling of salted peanuts. while shopping, (rainbow has a fabulous selection of bulk flours, nuts, pastas, sugars, beans, spices, and teas) i stumbled upon a bin of mixed maple nuts, which turned out to be the perfect salty-sweet taste combination.
to make chocolate dipped maple nut bacon: (thanks to the awesome john from bi-rite for some dipping advice, although his big contribution to the meal comes later…)
1. fry your bacon and place the slices on a paper towel to drain. make sure they’re cooked enough so there’s not too much fat or the chocolate won’t stick. i placed a plate on top to get the bacon to lie flat for easier dipping.
2. set up a double boiler with a heatproof bowl over a pot of water. turn on the heat and let the water boil with the chocolate in the upper bowl.
3. smash the shit out of the nuts (this is also on the list of instructions for your rape awareness self defense class). for maple nuts, i’d advise rolling a can or something else heavy over them with a layer of parchment paper or plastic in between. for the dude attempting to steal your purse, i’d advise a knee to the groin.
4. once the chocolate melts, submerge the bacon in the gooey pool (you can go the whole way for ultimate chocolateyness, or just halfway for some visual bacon contrast) then roll it in the nut bits, then set down to cool. fyi, i really like using chopsticks for bacon frying as well as chocolate dipping activities. trying to stab thin pieces of fatty bacon from a pan radiating hot oil is tough and chopsticks allow you to grab and flip the slices with ease. they’ll also let you dip anything in chocolate without having fork holes. but don’t worrry all you chopstick incompetents, if your chopsticks skills blow you can always use tongs. i think irene originally came up with this ingenious move. way to go, bean.
5. eat that shit.
the second component of the dessert showcase consisted of a bacon fat oatmeal maple chocolate and bacon bit cookie. i basically took this recipe by a pastry chef at a brooklyn restaurant and added a few tablespoons of maple syrup and it turned out freaking delicious. fyi, if you’re considering making this recipe, make half if you’re not making sandwiches. i halved it and ended up with about 36 cookies. if you’re michael phelps post-bong hit, you may want to make the whole recipe to hit your daily regimen of 8000 calorie and get your munchie fix.
you’ll need a shitton of bacon fat, which i luckily had around thanks to our apartment receiving a lovely christmas gift of four packs of artisanal bacon from our oh-so-awesome friends and bacon-off attendees alejandro and jess. mmm bacon fat in a cup:
here’s a step by step process of the baking process. adding oatmeal basically makes it a health food, right?
i made a version with and without chocolate flakes. i vote pro-chocolate, pretty much always. iron sous chef jess made a caramel sauce and poured in some bacon fat and bourbon, which we then drizzled onto a scoop of vanilla gelato on top of the cookie. holy fuck yes.
cookies and baconnnnn. bacon in coooookies. wouldn’t this be a nice present? you will be my new best friend if you come up to me and say ‘i made you cookies and bacon.’
for the final part of my dessert, i made a bacon cocktail with maker’s mark, guinness, and vanilla gelato from ciao bella. i got this recipe from my favorite foodie friend, john from bi-rite. he gave me this recipe pretty much word for word about three hours before the bacon-off started. the only thing i changed was using vanilla gelato instead of chocolate, since i like the combos of bourbon and vanilla as well as guinness and vanilla.
here’s how to make the ‘car bombed on bacon’ cocktail:
1. make a shitton of bacon. eat the bacon. let the fat cool a bit. pour it into a bottle of bourbon (you may want to take a shot first to give yourself some room) and let the bacon fat congeal at the top. i only had about three hours to let the bacon fat infuse the bourbon so it wasn’t super bacony. it would probably be killer if you left it for a week or two.
2. the bourbon will develop a fatty seal at the top. poke a hole in it with a chopstick and decant the bourbon out through the hole. pour into a glass and add a shot of guinness. btdubs, if you’re ever in dublin, go to the guinnness museum at the factory. you can learn all about guinness production, see all the historical ad campaigns, press a button to start a batch of guinness, and sip a perfectly tapped draught at the gravity bar with a 360° view of dublin. yeah boyyyy.
3. add a scoop of vanilla gelato. prepare for crazy insane taste sensations. drink.