I apologize in advance for any bacon cravings that might ensue due to you reading this post.
This is one of those things that you don’t want to have lingering in the house. You want to make it for something (a party, another recipe, etc.) and then get it the hell out of your sight. Because no one’s willpower is strong enough to stand against candied bacon.
Especially if you’re one of those people, like me, who used to dip their breakfast bacon and sausages in the maple syrup at diners. Maple doesn’t stick, so I use dark brown sugar, which mixes with the bacon fat into a rich caramel. A few years ago I started adding a little sprinkle of cayenne pepper for a little spice and it’s perfect for a nice subtle burn to balance out the sweetness and richness. I make it for special breakfasts or brunches or to chop it up to put in chocolate chip cookies. It’s not for every day, but an excellent trick to have up your sleeve.
Spicy Candied Bacon
Makes 12 slices.
1/2 cup brown sugar (I use dark, but light also works)
1/8-1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, to taste
12 slices regular-cut bacon
Heat your oven to 375°F (190°C). Line a rimmed sheet pan with aluminium foil or parchment paper.
Mix the brown sugar and cayenne together in a bowl or plate. One by one, press the bacon slices into the sugar mixture to adhere and rub the sugar into both sides of the bacon slices with your fingers. Lay the bacon out in one layer on the baking sheet and sprinkle any remaining sugar on top of the slices.
Bake for 13-18 minutes until the sugar has caramelized and adhered to the bacon and the bacon is as crispy as you like. Watch closely after the sugar has begun to caramelize, as it can start to burn quickly.
Using tongs, remove the bacon to a cooling rack with paper towels underneath to drain and cool. Serve warm or room-temperature.
If you have a cooling rack that fits in your sheet pan, you can place the rack into the aluminum foil-lined sheet, place the bacon on top of the rack, and save yourself a step. The fat will drain off as the bacon cooks.
This stuff is great chopped up and added to sweet things: pancakes, maple cupcakes, waffles, ice cream…