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Bacon Brittle, Enough Said

May 18, 2012

If you’re a regular here you know that my posts often have little to do with the foods pictured. When, and if, I get around to talking about the food or the recipe, it’s usually at the end of a story about me, about Greg, about lots of things, and sometimes about food. But how do you put the likes of bacon brittle out there and prattle on about something else as if anything else really matters? If I told you about my new business venture it would be like listening to Charlie Brown’s teacher talk. Greg recently tried an egg with a runny yolk. A runny yolk! I was so moved I cried. See? You missed it, right? Because what we’re really talking about here is bacon.

So let’s just get right to it and leave the storytelling for another day.

B.A.C.O.N.

At the risk of heresy, I must first disclose that I’m a little tired of bacon. It’s everywhere–chocolate bars, vodka, doughnuts, and even macarons. How about a bacon macaron with a bacon port wine filling? No, thank you.

I like bacon. Heck, I love bacon, but not in a freakish, obsessive, “everything is better with bacon” kind of way. I’m a sucker for that salty meets sweet somethin’, somethin’, but I’ve resisted the urge to add bacon to my truffles and chocolate cakes. And not because everyone else is doing it, which they are. And not because it didn’t tickle my fancy, which it does. As it turns out I’m a bit of a traditionalist when it comes to my bacon. I love it lounging next to my buttered whole grain toast and drenched in bright orange egg yolk. The crunchy, salty surprise on a salad? Yup, that too. In a creamy pasta? You bet. Quiche? Uh, huh. Wrapped around a big, fat Medjool date? Oh baby, I like me a little Devil on horseback every now and again, yes I do. But bacon in my brittle, the very same brittle that I’m wont to fill with almonds or toasty pepitas? Hmmm.

Do you ever catch yourself getting comfortable? Too comfortable? That’s where I was at when I reached the crossroads of bacon meets brittle. Life had become a bit stagnant. I craved a few ripples in my pool–not a major drama, just a change of pace. So an otherwise ordinary day started with this bacon brittle.

THIS BACON BRITTLE.

This crunchy sweet goodness is intoxicating. Smoky, then sweet. Oh wait, what’s that? Ahh, a delicate smack of maple. Don’t be hasty about stowing it all away in that airtight container. Have a piece and then another. Admittedly, adding bacon to my brittle isn’t the stuff astronauts are made of, but this playfully delicious treat was indeed the spark I needed. With my teeth still full of caramel, I raced to the phone and scheduled the reiki session that I’d been considering for months. There, another ripple in my pool.

Later that night Greg declared the bacon brittle a hit by sneaking a third helping from the jar in the cupboard. And I went to bed with breakfast already on my mind–a perfectly poached egg, a slice of toast squishy with butter, and a side of crispy bacon, hold the brittle.

Bacon Brittle

Adapted from Tina Ujlaki’s Best-Ever Nut Brittle recipe for Food and Wine Magazine.

Ingredients

    8 ounces bacon, cooked your favorite way until crisp (I used a smoked maple bacon.)
    1 cup granulated sugar
    1/4 cup water
    1/4 cup unsalted butter
    3 tablespoons light corn syrup or golden syrup
    1/4 teaspoon baking soda
    coarse sea salt (I used Maldon.)

Preparation

  1. Chop the bacon into small bits about a 1/4-inch in size.
  2. Butter a rimmed baking sheet or line it with a Silpat.
  3. In a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine the sugar, water, butter, and syrup. Bring to a boil over moderate heat, stirring occasionally until the mixture reaches 300°F on a candy thermometer, about 10-15 minutes.
  4. Remove from heat and stir in the baking soda, then the bacon bits. Immediately pour the mixture on the prepared baking sheet. Use a large spoon (If it sticks, oil it lightly.) to quickly spread the brittle into a thin, even layer. Sprinkle with sea salt.
  5. Allow the brittle to cool completely, then break into pieces. Store in an airtight container.

Makes about 3/4 pound.



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26 Comments leave one →
  1. Mary Jo permalink
    May 18, 2012 7:07 am

    God is talking to me with this recipe.

  2. May 18, 2012 9:22 am

    If I lived in Chicago I’d be right over for a piece of bacon brittle! I am bummed out that we keep a kosher home. I’m going to see if I can talk mmy friend into making me some right now! Salty and sweet rule! Think you could substitute maple syrup for the corn syrup, to really amp up the maple flavour? (That’s the Canadian in me wishing for more intense maple!!)

    • May 18, 2012 4:35 pm

      Oh, I so wish you lived here too. I would make you some bacon brittle and we could experiment in my kitchen with the maple syrup.

      You can’t replace the corn syrup one to one with the maple syrup. The corn syrup keeps the sugar from crystallizing. Honey and glucose do the trick too, but maple syrup won’t. Try cutting the granulated sugar by 2T and replacing it with maple syrup…or ask your friend to try it when she whips this up for you. What a great friend! And please let me know how it turns out.

  3. May 18, 2012 9:25 am

    This sounds like a winner, and it’s gluten-free! I will pretend it’s calorie free as well.

    • May 18, 2012 4:36 pm

      I’m keeping my brittle on the top shelf in the cupboard. I get a bit of exercise every time I get out the stool and climb for it.

  4. May 18, 2012 2:19 pm

    Now that looks wonderful, Bobbi! I have such a good idea for my own chocolate brittle. You’ve prompted me to act upon it. Lovely treat :D

  5. May 18, 2012 5:05 pm

    I know, I’m a wee bit obsessed with my Maldon.

  6. May 18, 2012 8:22 pm

    Bacon brittle is definitely story enough. How I wish I had some.

  7. May 20, 2012 10:21 am

    oh please stop, this is just crazy I mean bacon brittle? I think I fell in love

  8. May 26, 2012 6:10 am

    My god… that’s genius!!

  9. bakeaholicmama permalink
    May 28, 2012 3:19 pm

    You are my hero for making this!!!

  10. June 5, 2012 9:33 am

    I love toffee – this just might be worth trying.

  11. Kristen permalink
    June 7, 2012 12:21 am

    I’m OBSESSED with this recipe! I saw this the day it was posted and promptly went to the store for bacon. And then I went back the next day for more bacon. And…I’ve made five batches in the last two and a half weeks, and have another batch planned for the weekend. If I keep going at this rate, I’m pretty sure my husband is going to cart me off to the loony farm! Unfortunately for him, he doesn’t like brittle and therefore doesn’t get to benefit from my obsessive-compulsive bacon brittle making. :(

    I can confirm through experimentation with my second batch that you can indeed replace some of the sugar with maple syrup, as suggested above. Also, I had an inspirational discovery while wandering through the aisles of my local Trader Joe’s on the fateful day I found this recipe — maple sugar! I never even knew such a thing existed, but it seemed imperative to try using some in bacon brittle. So in my third batch (and every subsequent one), I substituted 2 or so tablespoons of the regular sugar with maple sugar. The other change I made to batches 2 through 5 was to add half a cup or so of chopped toasted pecans. Bacon brittle on its own is wonderful, but maple pecan bacon brittle is heavenly — many of my friends and I (pretty much everyone that’s tried it other than my husband) have lovingly nicknamed it “crack”!

    Thanks for introducing me to this awesomely addictive substance!!! :)

    • June 15, 2012 1:24 pm

      Kristen–thank you so much for making the time to share your experience with the recipe and ingredients. I’m thrilled you are enjoying the bacon brittle as much as we are–funny we call it “crack” too. :) Adding pecans is a fantastic idea. Can’t wait to try some in my next batch!

  12. Catherine permalink
    February 14, 2013 8:07 pm

    This sounds amazing! My husband is on deployment and I was thinking of sending him some. It only takes a few days to reach him, but I was wondering how long it would last in an airtight, or vacuum sealed container?

    • February 19, 2013 5:30 pm

      Catherine, it will last for weeks if it’s in a tightly sealed container. I lost track of a container of it last fall and when I finally found it, 6 weeks later, it was still crunchy and delicious.

  13. Claire Morrison permalink
    May 8, 2013 12:08 am

    Call me lazy, but I REEEEEALLY despise cleaning my cookie sheets, so I rarely put anything directly on them. Do you think I could use parchment paper and still get the desired results?? I’m a little obsessed with it and have yet to spring for a quality Silpat.

    • May 9, 2013 9:05 am

      You’re not lazy at all. I hate cleaning my cookie sheets too! I’m 97% sure that the parchment paper will work, especially if it’s a heavy duty paper. Put a Silpat on your holiday wishlist–it’s a game changer. Happy cooking!

      • Claire Morrison permalink
        May 10, 2013 8:38 pm

        I’m glad I’m not the only one! I “laze-out” whenever possible…but guess who found a Silpat at Target last night?! Late night bacon brittle time commencing in 3…2….

  14. Susan permalink
    November 13, 2013 11:53 am

    Does the bacon brittle need to be refrigerated? What is the shelf life?

    • November 21, 2013 10:39 am

      Susan, the brittle doesn’t require refrigeration. Keep it in an airtight container in a cool place, and it will last for several weeks.

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