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  • Writer's pictureTommy Centola

Complete sweet, salty with bacon

Sweet and Salty! This is a flavor combination that most have grown up with. Cracker Jacks was a treat growing up. The sweetness of the caramel coated popcorn mixed with the salty peanuts was a childhood favorite. As I grew older, that flavor combination stayed with me. The sweet part is easy. What better salty flavor than bacon to complete this pairing?

Today I am offering two sweet/salty recipes. The first, Sweet Spicy Candied Bacon, is a great snack. The second, Bacon Pastry Dessert, is a complete dish. Go to the store; buy some bacon, and Let’s head to the kitchen!

Sweet Spicy Candied Bacon

This is a very addicting take on bacon, not that bacon needs any help. The key is to use thick bacon. The seasonings will overpower a regular size slice.

1 pound thick cut bacon

2 teaspoons cayenne pepper

1 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes

1 tablespoon fresh ground black pepper

1 cup packed dark brown sugar

Preheat oven to 350℉.

Place a wire rack on a foil lined baking sheet. Arrange the bacon on the wire rack and sprinkle with cayenne pepper, crushed red pepper and black pepper. Lightly pat the brown sugar on top of the bacon to create a thin layer.

Transfer the baking sheet to the oven and bake for 30-40 minutes or until the brown sugar has melted and the bacon is crisp. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes. Using tongs, transfer the bacon to a parchment lined baking sheet and allow to cool to room temperature. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days at room temperature.

Bacon Pastry Dessert

Looking for a dessert that doesn’t require a lot of ingredients? This one packs a punch of flavor. It’s also great as a breakfast treat.

1 pound bacon

1 can crescent roll sheet

1/4 cup maple syrup

3/4 cup dark brown sugar

Pinch of cayenne pepper.

Preheat oven to 400℉. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Add bacon in a single layer on one baking tray, and add to the oven. Bake bacon for about 20 minutes or until slightly crispy. Remove from the oven and reduce oven temperature to 325℉. Place bacon on paper towels to drain.

Meanwhile, lay out crescent dough on the other baking tray. Press it out thinly to about 9x13” by covering with parchment and rolling, or using your fingers. Make sure there are no cracks or fissures. Prick dough with a fork.

Drizzle with half of the syrup and spread using a pastry brush, covering entire dough with syrup.

Place bacon evenly on dough. Drizzle small amount of remaining syrup on each bacon piece and spread with pastry brush. Sprinkle brown sugar evenly over entire surface. Sprinkle cayenne pepper evenly over pieces.

Bake for 25 minutes, checking after 20 minutes. If brown sugar does not melt, press lightly with a spatula.

Allow to cool for 20 minutes and move parchment paper with the pastry to a cutting board. Cut into randomly shaped pieces.

It has been said that bacon makes everything taste better. I wouldn’t go that far but it does enhance many dishes. If  bacon wasn’t bad for your cholesterol, it would be a perfect food item. Then again, aren’t most things that taste good bad for your health. Moderation is the key.

Over the next few weeks, we will be exploring the Holy Trinity of Louisiana cooking: Onions, Celery and Bell Peppers. While they are normally not the star of the dish, they are the basis of most Creole and Cajun cooking. Until next week, Good Cooking! Good Eating! Good Living!

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