If you haven’t already noticed, people like bacon. In the past year alone, we’ve witnessed the bacon explosion, pig roasts in every nook and cranny of the city, bacon showing up in unexpected places like candy and chocolate, Cochon 555, and, of course, last weekend’s Baconfest Pro Cookoff. There is a good reason for this – bacon is delicious. It’s decadent and fatty. It’s salty. It reminds you of Sunday mornings and long breakfasts watching cartoons or taking Mom breakfast in bed (bacon even tastes delicious out of the microwave, which can be said about so few things). It is comforting and satisfying.
With so much hoopla over bacon, some people feel like we’ve gone a little overboard. They feel that while bacon may be a great ingredient, we shouldn’t celebrate bacon. We shouldn’t praise it above other foods or rely on it’s humor for jokes (“It’s amazing the shrinkage that occurs with bacon. You start with a pound, you end up with a bookmark.”) or wear catchy bacon slogans (Bacon, Everything Else is Just a Condiment.)
Even as a sponsor of Baconfest, an unabashed bacon lover, and a maker of artisan bacon truffles, I understand the impetus behind this sentiment. It’s clear that they (the anti-bacon establishment) are being secretly funded directly by chickens. Chickens who are clearly missing their time in the sun. For a long time, chickens had it good. They were touted as a clearly healthy alternative to the heady days of beef consumption. Chicken was versatile and could be fried, roasted, poached, baked, or broiled. Chicken breasts were bred to be big and nearly flavorless so you can add just about any sauce, marinade, or rub that you want to and not “mess them up.” Pork, the other white meat? What about the first white meat?
So, readers, I say, “Forget this obsession with delicious, fatty bacon and eat a chicken.” You can even buy a chicken clothing (like the onesie above available from Cafe Press). (But, if you still can’t get over bacon, check out the recipe below for candied bacon truffles. Yum.)
Makes around 3 dozen truffles
For candied bacon:
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
6 strips thick cut applewood smoked bacon
Preheat oven to 375. Mix sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. Dip bacon in sugar mixture making sure both sides have a thin coating of sugar. Place strips on a parchment paper lined baking sheet and cook until crispy (8-15 minutes, depending on the thickness of your bacon). When finished, drain bacon grease into a small heat proof container and save. Cool bacon and grease.
For truffle ganache:
6 oz. semi sweet chocolate
1.5 oz. unsweetened chocolate
1 Tbsp. cooled bacon fat
1 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1/4 cup heavy cream
Chop chocolate (unless it’s in chip form) and combine all ingredients in a medium bowl. Set bowl over a pot of simmering (not boiling) water. Melt slowly, mixing to incorporate the ingredients. Once smooth and completely melted, pour into a shallow pan (I usually use a round cake pan) and spread evenly. Chill in the refrigerator. Once hardened (you should be able to make an impression in the ganache with your finger and a little force), remove from fridge and scoop out balls of chocolate with a melon baller (small side). Line the truffles on a baking sheet and put back in the fridge.
8 oz. semisweet chocolate
Chop chocolate (unless it’s in chip form) and put in a microwavable bowl and on medium-low heat; warm for 1 minute. Stir and put back in the microwave for 30 seconds. Repeat until chocolate is completely melted. Be careful not to scorch or overheat chocolate; it should be completely melted but only warm to the touch not hot.
Use a fork to dip each cooled truffle into the melted chocolate. Remove to a cool, clean baking sheet and top with a 1/4 inch slice of candied bacon. Refrigerate after done.
Chocolates will be best if removed from the fridge 15 minutes prior to serving. If you temper the chocolate, they will be able to withstand higher temperatures and won’t melt if left out on the counter all day(but it probably won’t matter as the truffles will be gone before you have to worry about it).