This is a special occasion breakfast treat, perfect for Father’s day or Valentine's day.
I should note here that the irony of taking bacon, something considered not good for your heart and shaping it into a heart, is not lost on me. But my justification for this recipe is that the heart shape could represent how you feel for the person to whom you’re giving the bacon. In my case it represents one thing and one thing only – how I feel about bacon itself. I just love it! Sorry, all you vegetarians, I know your pain. I used to be one, but the bacon beckoned.
This Candied Bacon is a favorite for fancy brunches, but I often make it as an hors d’oeuvre. (When serving as an appetizer, I just make simple strips.) It’s crispy and crunchy and sweet and salty and a little bit spicy. Just a bite or two satisfies all your food cravings. It’s beautiful for a party, and equally welcome for a breakfast-in-bed special treat. A word of caution: be sure to make plenty. I’ve never had leftovers… darnit!
Make ahead and serve at room temperature or serve warm.
Step 1: You'll Need
Fresh ground pepper
Light brown sugar
Rimmed baking sheet
Step 2: Preparation
Preheat oven to 350°.
Place a rack over a foil-covered pan with sides (not a rimless baking sheet).
Clean-up from this recipe can be a mess if you don’t use the rack-and-foil method. If, by chance, you don’t have a rack & pan combo that will work, try this kitchen hack: Take a sheet of heavy-duty foil, twice the size of your sheet pan. Fold the foil in ½” accordion pleats. Spread out over a foil-covered sheet pan. Lay bacon perpendicular across the foil ridges to lift it from the pan bottom. Once the bacon is done cooking… simply toss all the foil in the trash.
To make hearts, cut bacon in half lengthwise, then crosswise. Each heart will require one half a piece of bacon.
Working on a piece of paper towel, and one heart at a time, season bacon with pepper, then sprinkle with a light layer of brown sugar.
Step 3: Assemble Hearts
Move bacon to the prepared rack. Place the bottom short edges of two bacon strips on the rack, overlapping to form the bottom point of the heart. (Note: I made some hearts without sugar, so the overlapping can be seen better.)
Next, fold over the top ends, twisting each once to create the top loop of the heart. When forming the heart, alternate bacon ends. Gently press the intersection of the four ends together. Sprinkle on more sugar, if desired.
(If making as simple strips, lay the strips on the rack, pepper, and sprinkle with a layer of brown sugar.)
Place in oven and bake 25 to 40 minutes, depending on the thickness of bacon. Remove when crispy.
Step 4: Finished Bacon Hearts
Serve immediately, or set aside to cool. Can be made one day in advance, and reheated before serving (a few seconds in the microwave does the trick).
They’re tastiest when served warm or at room temperature.