Ecstasy in two words: BACON TOFFEE

bacon_toffee2.jpgYes, you read that right. Try hard and you can imagine this match made in gustatory heaven: crispy chewy bacon bits (in this case heritage pork from Fatted Calf) coated in buttery sweet crunchy toffee. Salty and sugary, smoky and rich…white trash flavors made with top-quality ingredients…ahhhhhh.
I had bacon toffee for the first time last night — in quantities bordering on the unforgivable — and I can't stop thinking about it.

Which is saying a lot, since here's what I had already eaten by the time the toffee appeared: hardboiled eggs marinated in Bloody Marys, a spicy grapefruit salad, mussels stuffed with a Turkish-style paella, foie gras confit, squid stuffed with a more Spanish paella, wild boar cooked with bacon in a wood-fired oven, lamb, mashed heirloom potatoes, roasted beets, and copious samples from a course of 15 fantastic raw-milk French cheeses. Oh, and several flights of wines from places so far off the wine-world map that they should have been labeled with "here be Dragons," like China and Golan Heights and Transylvania.

Oof.

The Potato non Grata and I had the great good fortune to have been invited to a gathering of foodies and oenophiles — most of them veteran bloggers — hosted by Jack & Joanne, of the encyclopedic site Fork & Bottle, who readers may have noticed we're often thanking for tips, but who I'd never met 'til last night. For me, frankly, the invitation was akin to being a freshman asked to senior prom, or a bench-warmer getting to start in the championship, which is to say thrilling but intimidating as hell.

icecreamcookies.jpgGiven that my cooking skills hover somewhere between "advanced beginner" and "occasionally inspired," I fretted for weeks about what to contribute to this foodie feast. I ended up hedging my bets, bringing two ice creams I wheedled out of the folks at Restaurant Zatar — cardamom date and saffron pistachio, both made from organic Straus Family creamery milk; I made a Middle Eastern spice cookie and a Seville olive oil wafer with anise to go with them. (The baking was aided greatly by the Potato asking if I wanted my birthday present early: a KitchenAid mixer! Now I at least look like a real cook.)

But back to the bacon toffee. Brought by Doralice, who runs the Cheese Shop in Healdsburg, it was a revelation, like the first time I had Fatted Calf's duck liver mousse. Doralice snuck out before the dessert course, so I didn't get the chance to question her about whether it required candy thermometers, etc.. However, another guest said that there was a recipe for bacon toffee in the "Everything Tastes Better With Bacon" cookbook by Sara Perry. I can't believe I don't already own this, but you can bet I will soon. (Lyrical Robot, you must get it too.)
What a memorable evening. I'll be dreaming about it for weeks.

[Once more: thanks Jack — and Joanne!]

13 Responsesto “Ecstasy in two words: BACON TOFFEE”

  1. Ha, I wrote Jack looking for Doralice's contact info so that I can ask her how she made it. I've got various toffee recipes; it does require candy thermometers, but this kind of sugar work is pretty easy.

  2. cookiecrumb says:

    Serves me right for being a scaredy-cat and ducking out early, just because of a little bad ol' rain. Boo hoo.
    Bacon candy? I mean, yes, I've *heard* of chocolate bacon ;-) but oof. I'm a capital-L Loozah.
    Fun was had by all, and So Great to meet you and the Tater, DQ!!

  3. Tammy says:

    Bacon Toffee??? You just made all of my dreams come true!

  4. Butter Bitch says:

    That's brilliant. Man of La Muncha is dubious, but I'm going to have to run out and buy a candy thermometer.

  5. Sara Perry says:

    Dear Bacon Lovers . . . besides making my day . . .you'll love the toffee! Sara (aka: the author of Everything Tastes Better With Bacon).

  6. Doralice says:

    Hi there,

    WooHoo! Glad y'all enjoyed the bacon toffee.

    First, don't rush out and get a candy thermometer. This is the easiest recipe and although somewhat time consuming on the bacon end it is well worth it.

    If you have a favorite toffee recipe you can just add bacon to your recipe instead of nuts. You can also use pancetta, guanciale or lardo. Prosciutto only works if it is sliced much thicker than you normally would.

    Fry, bake or microwave bacon, dry and chop up. Add 1/4 tsp. salt, 1/4 tsp & 1/8 tsp baking soda. Set aside.

    Grease a sheet pan or place a silpat mat on the pan.

    In a pan: 1 1/3c sugar, 1/2c water, 1/4c light corn syrup, 2.5 Tablespoons unsalted butter. Cook for 12 min. on hight heat until you start to see caramel notes on the edges of the liquid. Continue to cook until you get more of a light color change. When it is all over caramel quickly add bacon mix and stir quickly and in invert onto your pan. Quickly smooth out mix and let cool.

    Very important: To store you must store in a plastic container or the condensation of a bag or any other material will turn your toffee to goo. Do not store in the refrigerator. Don't worry about the bacon going bad if not stored in the fridge....this will also turn it into goo too.

  7. aunt biddy says:

    Silly question, mebbe -- but how much bacon are we talking about? Several strips? A pound?

  8. La La Linda says:

    Oh. My. Goodness. We have long believed that bacon is indeed one of nature's perfect foods, followed by dark chocolate, naturally. This sounds like something one could do without TOO much angst and the arteries 'aren't talking' so hurray! Sounds like a divine party...yummmmmm.

  9. shelly says:

    You've inspired me! I recently took a caramel class with eggbeater Shuna, so your post on bacon toffee is just so fortuitous.

    Btw, you might want to try that wine from the Golan Heights. The Golan and Gamla wineries usually produce pretty good wines, in my experience. I tend to like Gamla's Chardonnay. You'd be surprised at the quality of some Israeli wines these days, particularly some of the boutique wineries.

  10. I am so making this (but first I think I better get that pesky planned physical and cholesterol testing out of the way). And I am sooooo buying that cookbook!

  11. Kevin says:

    OH

    MY

    GOD

    I think I'm in love with all of you!

  12. Sarah Miller says:

    I can't believe I stumbled on this post! I just made my first batch of bacon peanut brittle a few nights ago. No one who hasn't tasted it seems to believe how good it is...it has replaced buttered stove-popped popcorn for my favorite snack to be munched with beer. I keep telling doubters that beer and brittle are a natural pair (don't lots of folk let their maple syrup edge onto their bacon at brunch?). I like how the bacon permeates the bacon-free spaces in the brittle. Nuts don't seem to have that sort of seepage factor. I kept some peanuts in mine, and I like the combination, but bacon purists (!) may want to do without them.

    Oh yeah, and bacon brittle is nice with your morning coffee, too. Something to eat with beer and coffee...what could be more practical?