Candied Bacon for Easter

stout candied bacon

My sister’s never been a fan of that traditional, Easter staple, ham. It’s just not her thing. While clicking around on Pinterest the other day, I found something that I think she’d enjoy, kind of a honey-glazed ham cousin – candied bacon with beer.

The recipe I found was from Tide and Thyme. As is my wont, I changed the recipe to fit my own tastes, and the result was compulsively good. Warning – if you have difficulty stopping your snacking tendencies when something is savory, sweet, smoky, crispy, and chewy, you may want to make sure that you only make this when you’re surrounded by a party of people. This creation is that delectable. Your taste buds will scream, “More, more, more!” and it’s so hard to say, “No!”

The fact that this is a finger-food makes it that much more appealing, as my family will be spending Sunday playing the Settlers of Catan, and that will make it very easy to snack on. Holiday tabletop – woot!

The pairing of this melt-in-your-mouth, sweet, fatty stick of wonder is pretty obvious. It goes wonderfully with the rest of the beer you used to create it. For me, that just happened to be Six Rivers Brewery’s Paradise Moon Porter, a chocolaty porter infused with Kona coffee. It’s amazing on its own, and it makes one Hell of a candied bacon.

Candied Beer Bacon

serves — well, that’s up to your degree of self-restraint

12 oz applewood smoked bacon
1/2 cup loosely packed dark brown sugar
1/3 cup porter or stout

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Whisk together sugar and beer and set aside.
Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and place a wire cooling rack or baking rack on top. Lay the pieces of bacon on the rack. A little overlap is fine. Put in oven and cook for 10 minutes.
Remove from oven. Using a grill or marinate brush, coat each piece of bacon with the syrup. You may need to give the syrup mixture another quick whisk if the sugar has settled. Turn the bacon over and brush the other sides. Cook for another 10 minutes.
Remove from the oven and repeat the brush/flip/brush. Return to the oven and cook for another 10 minutes.
Remove from the oven and repeat the previous steps one final time. Cook another 10 minutes.
Remove from oven and let cool for one hour.
Stuff your face and be glad we live in a world with bacon, sugar, beer, and tabletop games.

Quiche for Pi Day

quicheYesterday was Pi Day, so in celebration, I made us a savory pie, i.e. quiche, for dinner last night. Honestly, could I have done anything else?

This year’s math day also occurred when spring has sprung in California. (Sorry if you’re not there yet in your neck of the woods.) There are tender, green veggies all up in the place right now, so I figured our savory pie required more than a serving of vegetables to fully celebrate 3.14 as well as the changing of seasons. Inspired by the technique used by theKitchn, I assembled this quiche a bit differently than I have in the past and was quite happy with the results.

We paired our spring quiche with a glass of Riesling. The bright acidity stood up to the green flavors of the pie and kept the custard and cheese from being too heavy.

Spring Quiche

serves 8

2 9-inch gluten-free pie crusts (I used Wholly Wholesome GF pie shells)
8 slices of bacon, chopped
10 oz mixed mushrooms
1 bunch asparagus, chopped
1 small red onion, chopped
1/3 pound baby spinach
2 cups Gruyere, grated
3 large eggs
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup milk
pinch of salt and pepper
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp dried dill

Cook crusts according to package directions.
Keep oven at 350 degrees F after removing the pie shells.
In a large skillet, cook bacon until browned. Add red onion and stir. Pour in mushrooms and stir. Scatter asparagus and cook two minutes, then stir. Sprinkle spinach on top and cook for two more minutes. Stir veggies until spinach is wilted and then pour everything into a colander and let drain.
In the baked pie shells, scatter half of the cheese. Pour the veggies and bacon into each crust. Scatter the other half of the cheese on top.
In a large bowl, beat eggs, cream, milk, and seasonings together. Pour an equal amount into each pie shell.
Put into oven and cook for 40 minutes. Cool for 20 minutes. Cut into wedges and serve with a nice, dry Riesling.

Quirky Cookies

Peanut Butter Bacon Cookies with Chocolate ChipsSweet treats abound this time of the year, but when you don’t eat wheat, you can begin to feel like someone forgot to give you a ticket to the indulgence train.

I felt that this was a situation that had to be rectified, so I gathered my baking tools and got to work.

That statement makes it sound like the recipe I’m about to share is complicated, but it’s not. In fact, it’s quick, it’s tasty — as always — is guaranteed to get your hands covered in delicious dough, and will cause people’s eyebrows to rise when you hand them out. They’re peanut butter bacon cookies. Now, I’ve made these cookies before. The recipe made the internet rounds a few years ago when bacon was trendy. The original method doesn’t really need any improvement, but I just can’t leave well enough alone, so I tweaked it a bit for this blog post. I recommend trying out both recipes, the Shutter Bean technique, which is scrumptious, and the I’m-going-to-go-nuts-and-add-even-more-stuff version I shall unveil below.

These are definitely a treat of a cookie. They are not for everyday consumption, but oh, when that special day comes around, won’t it be glorious!

cooling-cookiesCoconut Peanut Butter Bacon Cookies with Chocolate Chips

16 oz crunchy coconut & peanut butter
2 cups coconut sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons baking soda
12 slices bacon
6 oz chocolate chips
coarse sea salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Cook the bacon, six pieces at a time, in the microwave. (This makes the recipe super-quick.) Spread two paper towels on a microwave-safe plate, lay out the pieces, making sure none overlap, place two more paper towels on top, and microwave on high for five minutes. Repeat with other six pieces, let cool, and chop into small pieces.
Add peanut butter and sugar and mix with your hands until integrated. Add eggs and soda and again mix with your hands until everything is a big, doughy bit of gloriousness.
Toss in bacon and chocolate and mix some more. Try to get most of the dough off your fingers, but cleaning off the rest is up to you.
After washing your hands -ahem!- form dough into balls the size of black walnuts. Roll dough in a bit of coconut sugar if you’d like.
On a greased cookie sheet (I just rubbed the bacon paper towels on the sheet), place the cookies about two inches apart. Press down on the ball with a fork to make a criss-cross pattern. Sprinkle the top of each cookie with a pinch of sea salt. (This is something I learned the hard way, as my recipe alteration messed with the savory/sweet ratio, swinging too far into the sweet category. By adding a teensy bit of coarse salt to the top of each cookie, it helped bring the savoriness of the bacon back into play.)
Bake for 12 minutes, using your nose to help tell when the cookies are done. Here’s the trick — if you pay attention, you can smell when the cookie goes from cooking to caramelization. The minute the cookie begins to smell a little “brown,” you know it’s ready to be removed from the oven.
Let cool on the cookie sheet for five minutes, then move cookies to a cooling rack for a few more minutes. Maybe, just maybe, try one while they’re still gooey and warm…

Makes around two dozen cookies — depending on how many you consume along the way.

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