Sunday, October 21, 2012

Sweet Bacon Bites Are the Perfect No-Brainer for Your Brunch or Cocktail Party

Sweet Bacon Bites, packing an umami punch, highlight one of our favorite taste combinations: sweet and salty.

The ongoing trend of adding bacon to just about everything doesn’t seem to have peaked, but rather continues to pique the imaginations of chefs and home cooks all around the globe. For years, we eschewed bacon with proclamations of “too fatty,” “unhealthy,” and the weakest excuse of all, “What will we do with all the grease?” Well, those days came to an end one day when our defenses weakened as we spotted a greasy spoon while on a road trip to Tennessee to experience Dollywood and Graceland. We plopped ourselves down in the welcoming booth and, during the course of our lunch, proceeded to devour crisp slices of bacon with, what else, eggs over easy with a side of creamy grits.

We survived the road trip and the bacon, so we thought that since everyone seems to love bacon again, why not just make something that’s all bacon, with a little sweetness added. A little light brown sugar sprinkled on top creates a crisp, succulent chew with every bite. You can sprinkle other pantry items on top of the bacon as well, like crushed pretzels, pecans, you name it. Let your whimsy be your guide. Although, as Sister Maria chirps in The Sound of Music, we do recommend you start at the very beginning and just use light brown sugar. It’s a very good place to start.

Sweet Bacon Bites

1 package bacon (such as Boar’s Head)
light brown sugar (1/4 cup for every four slices of bacon)

Preheat oven at 400°F. Cover baking sheet with parchment paper. Place bacon slices in a single layer, side by side but not touching, on parchment. You can slice the bacon in half, thirds, or quarters depending on how long you want each piece (shrinkage is minimal). Sprinkle light brown sugar making sure to cover the bacon and not the parchment. Bake for 13 minutes. With tongs, flip bacon slices. Bake for another 5 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool before serving.

Tips & Tricks
  • If you leave the bacon slices intact, you can serve them in a wide-mouthed jar or vessel.
  • Save the bacon grease in the fridge for another application.
Suggested Pairings
We’d be hard-pressed to find a drink that clashes with Sweet Bacon Bites. It goes with just about anything. We’ve narrowed it down to a few drinks in our arsenal. And these caramelized nuggets of lusciousness are ideal for a brunch gathering or an evening party. Just make sure you have enough.

Brunch Suggestions
Harvey Wallbanger (vodka, Galliano, orange juice)
Adam (tomato water, moonshine)
Suzette (bourbon, orange and maple liqueurs)
Farrah Fawcett (light rum, Champagne, crème de banana, advocaat)
Ramos Gin Fizz (gin, cream, egg white, lemon and lime juices)
Mimosa (Champagne, orange juice)

Evening suggestions
Manhattan (rye or bourbon, sweet vermouth, bitters)
French 75 (gin, Champagne, lemon juice)
Kitty Carlisle (bourbon, Catdaddy, lemon juice, crème de cacao)
Mojito (light rum, lime juice, mint, sugar)
Jack Twist (walnut-infused Jack Daniels, walnut liqueur)
Oriental (rye or bourbon, sweet vermouth, triple sec, lime juice)
Cosmopolitan (citrus vodka, triple sec, lime and cranberry juices)
Champagne Cocktail (Champagne, brandy or cognac, sugar)