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Bourbon Bacon Salted Caramels

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Picture of Bourbon Bacon Salted Caramels
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Salted caramel is all the rage these days.  As is putting bacon in anything.  And who doesn't love bourbon? So I propose we marry all of these beautiful things together.  Bourbon bacon salted caramels for the win!

These caramels are rich and addictive and completely customizable to how much of a bacon experience you want.  The bourbon acts as a replacement to vanilla extract, so if you're looking for a non-alcoholic version, you can make an easy substitution.  

The next time you're looking for a slightly racy treat, give this bourbon bacon salted caramel recipe a try! You won't be disappointed.
 
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Step 1: Materials

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Software:

12 ounces (340g) bacon
1 cup (236mL) heavy cream
2 tablespoons (30mL) bacon fat (from cooked bacon)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups (300g) granulated sugar
1/4 cup (60mL) corn syrup
1/4 cup (60mL) water
1 tablespoon (15mL) bourbon (or vanilla extract)
8 ounces (227g) pecans


Hardware:

Cookie sheet
Small sauce pan
Large sauce pan
Candy thermometer - love, love, love this one




Step 2: Get everything ready

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It's a good idea to get everything prepped in advance, as once you start making the caramel, you're going to need to keep an eye on it. 

Cook your bacon.  
Strain the grease into a container to use in the next step.
Chop the bacon up into small pieces.

If you're using pecans, chop them up into small pieces.

Grease your pan with butter and sprinkle with pecan pieces.

Measure out the rest of your ingredients and have them standing by.

Step 3: Simmer down now

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Combine the heavy cream, bacon fat, and salt in a small sauce pan.  Bring to a simmer.  

Step 4: Make the candy

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Combine the sugar, corn syrup, and water, and stir to combine into a thick paste.

Clip on your candy thermometer, set for caramel, 320F (160C).  

Let cook without stirring until it reaches the appropriate temperature.  

Step 5: Make it creamy

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Once the sugar has reached temperature, remove from heat and drizzle in the cream mixture.

Whisk vigorously to combine, and return to heat.

Cook caramel until it reaches firm ball stage, 245-255F (118-124C) for a firm caramel.  Cooking to a lower temp (240-245F / 116-118C) will yield a softer caramel.

When caramel has reached temperature, stir in the bourbon until well combined,

Step 6: Pour and set

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Pour the caramel over the prepared baking dish.

Sprinkle chopped bacon and coarse sea salt over the top.  I know adding more salt to this sounds like madness, but it really isn't overboard.  Try it both ways and see what you like!

Let caramel sit for at least two hours to firm up.  Cut and wrap pieces in parchment. 

Enjoy!

Step 7: Making Pretty

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I had the good fortune to employ the help of audreyobscura to help me with this photo shoot.  Since I like the way the final pictures of these caramels turned out, I thought I'd share that process too!

The caramels came out a bit softer than I had hoped, so after cutting them, I placed a few of them in the freezer so they would firm up and we'd have more time to play with photographing them before they started to 'melt."  

We placed the frozen caramels on the tops of over-turned wine glasses on a large white sweep (like this one).  Then we used a Canon 60D outfitted with an external Canon Speedlite 580EX II flash pointed owards the ceiling.  This gave us additional light without it being too direct and overwhelming.  

We shot with the camera set to aperture priority with the aperture set very low to create a short field of focus.  That made whichever part of the photo we chose stand out, and the rest recede from focus.  

Since we were battling overhead lights in combination with the flash, I did some final editing work in Photoshop Elements to balance the color.  You could do the same with a free program like Pixlr, but the program I used has some handy shortcuts that I really enjoy.

I hope that helps in your own future photographing ventures! 
awynhaus5 months ago

I am not a big hard liquor drinker but I will be attending a scotch and bacon party and wondered if you think scotch would be a good sub for the bourbon?

thanks!

Stormdrane8 months ago

These look/sound tasty, definitely going on the 'make it & eat it' list. Thanks for sharing!

MsDiz8 months ago

This is going to be my hostess gifts for this holiday season. Everyone who has had a taste LOVED it! Since I am going to be making it in large batches, can you tell me the best way to store it? And how long it can keep for best flavor?

Can I "candy" the bacon? What I mean is cook the bacon with brown sugar
hellpie1 year ago
my god, it's full of stars
scoochmaroo (author)  hellpie1 year ago
This might be my favorite comment ever
NellieBella2 years ago
Just wondering if this recipe is enough for gift bags for 26 at a baby shower? Should I double?
scoochmaroo (author)  NellieBella2 years ago
Definitely double it. You can't have too many of these!!
oh. my. gosh!
nanosec122 years ago
Now all it needs is a thin layer of milk chocolate on top to make it Truly Decadent !!!

Awesome idea
Wow, just wow! I am on a quest to learn how to cook these!
Wow, just wow! I am on a quest to learn how to cook these!
oldhamedia2 years ago
Excellent (and yummy!) instructable! Nice addition of the photography tips, too. I might just have to drizzle some chocolate over mine, but I do that on everything!
jmsdo2 years ago
O M G ! I have got to make these!
PitStoP2 years ago
So this is what you girls eat for breakfast! =)
scoochmaroo (author)  PitStoP2 years ago
Yes. Yes it is.
A wonderful blend of flavors :)