Caramel + Bacon = Awesomeness

One of the parents at H’s school kindly gave me some caramels for Christmas and reignited my love affair with the bite-sized sticky goodness. I searched Google (of course) and came across the most incredible combination I have ever seen.

Chipotle Bacon Caramels.  (Thank you, Local Kitchen!)

Gross, you say? I was willing to take the chance.  I love caramels.  Plus I had the brainstorm that I could send them to my brother-in-law, The Bacon Man. This is a man whose first date with the woman who would become his wife included bacon wrapped hotdogs.  I was pretty sure he was going to like them.

So, I began by candying my 9 pieces of bacon.  An unusual process of coating center-cut bacon liberally with chipotle powder, a dash of cayenne pepper, a pinch of kosher salt, and a generous amount of raw sugar and then baking it in the oven.  Half way through I flipped the bacon and coated the other side with the seasonings and sugar and finished the baking process.

Before

Plain old boring bacon

After

Chipotle Candied Bacon

I felt the need to follow a sort of scientific method in this and test the bacon before I started the caramel process.  It was SPICY!  Even Mark (a man who over came his Midwestern upbringing and once won a hot pepper eating contest by eating an entire habenero pepper) thought that this bacon packed some heat.  I was a little nervous, but hopeful that quantity of sweet caramels would tame the spicy somewhat.

Time to make the caramels and put that to the test!

Boiling Sugar!

The most exciting part of candy making is boiling the sugar. This combo is sugar and corn syrup.  And the cool thing is you just let it go until it starts to turn amber and then you start measuring temperatures.  I highly recommend an instant read thermometer so you get a temp reading fast and you don’t burn the caramel.  Because if you burn the caramel the only thing to do is cry, toss it, and start over.   I also highly recommend you don’t drop your instant read thermometer into the sugar.  It comes out looking like a prehistoric bug covered in amber.

A less exciting, but still really important part of this is the cream mixture.  It makes the caramels, well, creamy.  And this is where you use salted butter and put in a pinch of sea salt if you want a salted caramel flavor.  Also, keeping it warm will help the sugar not splatter so much when you add it to the hot sugar.

Cream, butter, vanilla, and salt being kept warm

When you stir it together it gets all creamy and gooey and glossy and luscious.  And then you stir in half of the bacon (chopped) and then the rest over the top of the caramel when you pour it into the loaf pan.

And when she says to have your loaf pan ready before you begin to cook the sugar she is NOT KIDDING.  One you start cooking the sugar and cream mixtures you are effectively chained to the stove.  I also struggled with the size she meant.  Did she really mean a bread loaf pan?  Can you get 72 caramels out a standard bread loaf pan?  Maybe she meant an 8×8 pan?  But, no.  She really means a bread loaf pan.

Caramels in the Bread Loaf Pan.

 

And here’s what they look like all cut up.

Yumminess!

I don’t recommend eating them all in one sitting. The spice does come through, but it was not as hot as the bacon alone.  It was savory and sweet and rich.  I felt really satisfied after 2 or 3.   And if you’re not going to eating them all at one time you’re going to need to wrap each piece in wax paper.

All ready for the candy shop

It wasn’t as tedious or mind numbing as I thought.  Mostly because I listened to an Amelia Peabody mystery while I wrapped them.  (I love those mysteries and Barbara Rosenblatt is an amazing narrator.  She gets all the voices just right.)

The recipe did make 70 caramels and the container was almost full when I was done wrapping.   I keep them stored in the fridge and  when I want one (or three) I take what I want out of the fridge and let them warm on the counter.  I suppose we could also pop them in the microwave for 10 seconds to soften them.  Otherwise they are more like toffees than caramels. (But they taste just as good!)

And they are delightful with a nice cup of tea!


3 thoughts on “Caramel + Bacon = Awesomeness

  1. This sounds AWESOME. I have to try it.
    I really struggle with sugar on the stove. I love making flan, which requires a caramel sauce, and I have thrown out more sugar than I will admit here. This recipe looks delish enough to attempt to brave it again though… I am going to pin this to Pinterest!

    Like

  2. I continue to be impressed and entertained by your culinary adventures! (Any chance you could save one for me to enjoy after my stomach stops whatever it’s doing?)

    So how do people think of these things? Caramel and bacon? Who knew!

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s