bacon caramels

i eyed this recipe way back in july at Not Without Salt and knew i wanted to try them for a couple reasons. i've never made candy before and i love caramel so it sounds like a good place to start. caramel looks easy to make. and i absolutely love the sweet-salty combo from the caramel and the bacon. and really, how can bacon make something bad?

with my candy thermometer and various forms of sugar and fat in hand, i set out to make candy.

i started with the bacon. for the last year or so, i bake bacon rather than cook it in a skillet. it comes out crispy every time and i don't have to babysit it. i layed out 8 strips of thick cut bacon on top of a cooling rack (so the fat drips off the bacon as it cooks), put the rack on a cookie sheet, and baked it for 20 minutes at 350. perfect. i let it cool for 5-10 minutes, pulled it off the rack, and chopped it up with a knife.

while the bacon was in the oven, i got started on the caramel. it came together surprisingly easy. all in all, it took about 20 minutes to get the caramel to soft ball stage, and add the second half of the heavy cream.

once the second 1/2 cup of heavy cream was added and the bacon mixed it, i added it to the buttered 8x8 pyrex dish. then it was the worst waiting game. it was a tease to walk through the kitchen and see it sitting there, just waiting.

i ended up letting them cool overnight before cutting and wrapping them the next morning. i inverted the pan and most of the bottom didn't stick. i walked away for five minutes and when i came back, the whole thing was unstuck from the bottom. i used by benchscraper to measure out 1 1/2 inch rows, which i cut with a chef's knife heated with boiling water (i first tried cutting with my bench scraper. it worked, i got a nice straight line, but it took a lot of force to do. a knife was way easier to cut through the sticky mess), and then cut the rows into 1/2 pieces and wrapped them in wax paper. i got a total of 80 candies.

bacon caramels
adapted from not without salt

1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup corn syrup
1/2 cup butter
1 cup heavy cream, divided into 2 1/2 cup portions
1/4 cup maple syrup
8 strips thick cut bacon
  1. preheat your oven to 350F. separate bacon strips and lay them across a cooling rack. place the cooling rack on a cookie sheet. bake for 20-25 minutes, until crisp.
  2. cut the bacon into course pieces when cool.
  3. combine the sugars, butter, corn syrup, maple syrup and 1/2 cup heavy cream in a medium sauce pan. cook on medium high heat until it reaches 240F.
  4. liberally butter an 8x8 (thick candy) or 13x9 (thin candy) pan.
  5. remove from heat and stir in the remaining 1/2 cup cream.
  6. put back on the stove and cook until it reaches 245F.
  7. remove from heat and stir in the bacon.
  8. pour into the buttered dish. cool for at least three hours.
  9. when ready to cut, invert the pan over a cutting board. let sit until the candy separates from the pan. if it's really sticking, set the pan in an inch of boiling hot water for 30 seconds to melt the outer layer of candy and invert the pan again.
  10. cut into whatever size pieces you'd like. wrap in wax paper.

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