Monday, March 1, 2010

Bacon Fat Caramels

When I first read about Humphry Slocombe's lard caramels, my first thought was, why didn't they just use bacon fat instead of lard? After all, candied bacon was all the rage already, and wouldn't bacon fat caramels sound so much more appetizing than lard caramels? And for those of you who think bacon fat caramel sounds disgusting, well, we don't have to be friends anymore. ;)

Bacon Fat

So I made sure to save as much bacon fat as I could from the bacon I used for the bacon caramel corn. I ended up with a little over 7 tablespoons of fat from about 10 oz. of uncooked bacon. I searched on-line to see if anyone else had posted a recipe for bacon fat caramels, but the only one I found used sweetened condensed milk instead of cream. I usually like sweetened condensed milk in my desserts, but it is a pretty strong flavor, and I really wanted the bacon flavor to shine through, so I ended up using a recipe for fleur de sel caramels and just replaced the butter with bacon fat.

Bacon Fat Caramels

Bacon Fat Caramels (adapted from a recipe on Epicurious)
makes about 40 candies

1 cup heavy cream
5 tablespoons bacon fat
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup water

Line bottom and sides of an 8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper, then lightly oil parchment.

Bring cream, bacon fat, and salt to a boil in a small saucepan, then remove from heat and set aside.

Boil sugar, corn syrup, and water in a 3- to 4-quart heavy saucepan, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Boil, without stirring but gently swirling pan, until mixture is a light golden caramel.

Bacon Fat Caramel

Carefully stir in cream mixture (mixture will bubble up) and simmer, stirring frequently, until caramel registers 248°F on thermometer, 10 to 15 minutes. Pour into baking pan and cool 3 hours. Cut into 1-inch pieces, then wrap each piece in a 4-inch square of wax paper, twisting 2 ends to close. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Optional: Sprinkle diced, cooked bacon and/or sea salt on top of the caramel when it is still slightly soft.

Bacon Fat Caramels

I actually didn't have any wax paper but found that wrapping the caramels in parchment paper worked fine. The caramels were pretty greasy, but I think that was more because of the oil I used to grease the parchment rather than from the bacon fat itself. I did notice that at room temperature, the caramels are really quite soft, so I would definitely keep these chilled until you serve them.

As for the taste, some people have said it tastes like bacon drenched in maple syrup. Others have said that they didn't even taste the bacon until they bit into the part that had a bit of diced bacon in it. I did prefer the pieces that I sprinkled sea salt (I used Maldon sea salt) on more than the pieces that just had diced bacon because I think the texture worked better with the sea salt. Although, I did press all the fat out of the diced bacon, so maybe if they weren't so dry, it would have worked better.

Oh, and since I had two leftover butter wrappers after making the bacon caramel corn, I cut them up to wrap some of the caramels. I kind of like how they look, even though it's false advertising.



Recyling butter wrappers 

Previously:  Caramel Bacon Corn

16 comments:

  1. ha, the bacon on top too? that's awesome.

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  2. I.... I think I love you. :)

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  3. Oh Joy, I could never bring myself to make something so decadent, but your photos sure do make me want to change my ways. Sounds delicious and what an awesome post!

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  4. I love the idea of wrapping these in butter wrappers!! I never thought about saving mine - but really, why not? I go through more butter baking than any other ingredient (or so it seems) :)

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  5. This is just fabulous!
    I'll be linking on Foodwhirl.com :)

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  6. Haha, Dot, I just checked out Foodwhirl, and the first thing I noticed is that the tagline says "Creative, Healthy Cooking for Modern Life." Creative maybe, but not sure if this falls under "Healthy". =)

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  7. I have NEVER heard of bacon fat caramels before, but it sounds so weird and delicious at the same time! Oh, dilemma!

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  8. Have you been to HS before? It's fabulous! Ohhhh, their Special Breakfast ice cream is to die for (bourbon with cornflakes).

    And I agree- the butter wrapper recycling is genius! Well done.

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  9. Yeah... We're doing Bacon week this week, and that's not REALLY healthy, is it? :)

    but this definitely falls under Creative!

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  10. Hey! Here's the link here!
    http://foodwhirl.com/spotlight/bacon-bacon-caramel-corn

    Both your bacon fat caramel corn and also a link to the caramels, too.

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  11. Wow...that taking Bacon to a whole new level.

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  12. Hey... didn't know if you would notice a comment on an old post, so just letting you know that your Corned Beef and Cabbage Maki will be going up at Foodwhirl.com in our spotlight tomorrow.

    I'm loving your blog!
    dot

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  13. Joy.....
    you have made me drool. And, we can still be friends. Love this post. Love bacon, I even love the fact that you chose a fleur de sel caramel to play with as your base recipe.
    Just awesome.
    When I'm out of North Thailand and back in the kitchen in Baconville, I'm gonna cut loose and try this, and a swathe of other bacon goodies.
    Thanks and cheers!

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  14. I came looking for this when I made candy bacon tonight with thick slices dredged in turbinado sugar and skewered.....and discovered the toffee-like stuff in the bottom of the pan. Husband and I shamelessly ate some pieces of it thinking somebody should make it on purpose!

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