These days we are seeing bacon as an ingredient in the most unusual ways. Bacon pieces sprinkled on cupcakes, Maple Bacon Lollipops, and stirred into ice cream. I’ve even seen it featured in Bloody Mary cocktails, but my favorite unites bacon and chocolate. You can buy a Chocolate Bacon candy bar, or you can make them yourself. You can drizzle it over the top, dip it, or paint it on. Any way you choose to apply it, the combination is delicious! Does this sound strange to you? When you eat pancakes with maple syrup and some of the syrup gets on your bacon – don’t you love that flavor? Taking the step from maple syrup to chocolate is a little one – try it, you might love it!
Buy the best quality thick-cut bacon you can find. Thick-cut is very important. It needs to stand up to the weight of the chocolate. Higher quality bacon has a higher meat to fat ratio and it actually healthier for you.
When cooking the bacon, I suggest that you cook it on a grill pan because it keeps the bacon above the drippings, reducing the fat. You can also bake it on parchment paper or cook as usual in a skillet over medium heat. You do not want to burn the bacon but it should be cooked until crisp. When done, transfer to paper towels and blot off as much of the fat as possible.
You can coat the bacon in any type of chocolate that you like, but I think a blend of bittersweet and milk is the perfect combination. Not cloyingly sweet and strong enough pure chocolate flavor to balance the smokiness of the bacon. I also like to leave part of the bacon uncovered so that people know what they’re eating and it has a small “handle” for them to hold.
When working with melted chocolate, you will have to occasionally reheat it to keep it at a smooth, flowing consistency. To do this, keep the water you used to melt the chocolate on very low heat while you’re working off heat. Set the bowl of chocolate back over the steaming water and stir until partially melted again. Do this as many times as needed.
If you are throwing a party and want a fun, interesting treat for your guests, break the bacon into bite-sized pieces and dip them. Serve them in tiny paper muffin cups. They will be the finger food that people will be talking about for weeks!
Jane’s Tips and Hints:
Using high quality chocolate always makes a huge difference in flavor. Eating chocolate is like drinking wine. When you start, you like the sweetest flavors, but as your palate develops, you prefer a purer flavor without being hidden by all the sugar. If you are used to European chocolates, you already prefer a less-sweet chocolate.
Kitchen Skill: Working with Chocolate
Why: To become a skilled chocolatier!
How: To say that chocolate is temperamental is an understatement. It must be kept at the perfect temperature, never overheated, and above all it can NEVER come in contact with even a drop of water!
Perfectly melted chocolate is satiny and smooth. If it is overheated it becomes thick and lumpy. If any water is introduced, it will seize, or become a sodden mess, and be unusable. Make sure every bowl and utensil you are using is completely dry, don’t let any water splash into the bowl, and don’t cover the bowl where condensation can drip back into it. If you remember these few rules, working with chocolate will be fun and delicious.
Jane Evans Bonacci © 2009
Yield: about 6 servings
6 oz milk chocolate chips
6 oz semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chips
4 oz white chocolate, for garnish, optional
Lay bacon on grille pan and bake at 375°F until crispy, about 15 to 20 minutes. Watch carefully so it doesn’t burn. The grille pan allows excess fat to fall below the bacon so it is less greasy. Using tongs, transfer slices to paper towels to drain well. Pat carefully, you don’t want to break them! Cool bacon completely.
Meanwhile, set a glass or aluminum bowl over a saucepan with about 2 inches of water in it. Bring to a full simmer over medium heat but do not let boil. Combine milk and semisweet chocolates in the bowl and melt over the simmering water, stirring. When it is about 3/4 melted, set the bowl on a folded kitchen towel and let finish melting off the heat. Stir until smooth.
Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat. Using tongs or your fingers, carefully dip bacon in dark chocolate until completely covered. Transfer to baking sheet. Repeat with all the bacon. If chocolate starts to get too thick, reheat it gently over simmering water and stir until smooth. Transfer baking sheet to refrigerator and let set until chocolate is completely hard.
If you want to, you can drizzle the melted white chocolate back and forth over the bacon slices. A fork or whisk works well for this. This is very attractive, but not at all necessary. It will be just as delicious with or without it. You can also dip half of a piece of bacon in dark chocolate, let it harden, and then dip the other half in white chocolate. More work, but very dramatic!
Repeat the melting process with the white chocolate if using. White chocolate can scorch easily, so watch it carefully and keep stirring it.
Store in an airtight container at room temperature up to a day.
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