Sometimes you feel like a pig. Sometimes you don't.
Maple almond candy bars are great, but they don't have the magic of bacon. These bars do. They're a bit rich, so you might not want to eat a whole candy bar in one sitting.
Corn syrup (depending on whether you want your nougat crumbly or chewy)
Creamy almond butter
Step 1: Cook the Bacon
1 lb bacon
Place the bacon in a pan over medium low heat. Cook gently until bacon is crispy. Reserve the bacon drippings. Let bacon cool as you make the nougat.
I bought fresh, never frozen bacon from a local butcher. It didn't have as much salt as other bacon I've had, so I made sure to add a tiny bit of salt to the caramel.
Step 2: Make the Nougat Base
You've got a choice here.
If you use corn syrup like in my other candy bar instructable, your nougat will be more foolproof and stay chewy. If you use maple syrup, cook it for another 5 degrees, and beat it a bit longer, you'll encourage the sugar to crystalize in tiny tiny crystals, producing a soft, crumbly, powdery, melt in your mouth "nougat." This makes the bars harder to manage and to dip, but I love the texture, especially with the bacon. The seed crystals formed in this will also cause the caramel to crystallize after a couple days.
2 egg whites
1 t salt
1 1/2 C granulated sugar
1 C maple or corn syrup, depending on which type of nougat you want
1/2 C water
1 C smooth almond butter
Line your pan with parchment and spray it with the cooking spray.
Separate the eggs; use the yolks for something else. Place the egg whites and the salt in the bowl of a stand mixer.
Heat sugar, syrup, and water in a pot. When they start to boil, cover and boil for a couple minutes, then uncover and let sugar mixture cook until it reaches 270 degrees.
Make sure your almond butter is stirred; sometimes the oil separates from the rest of it.
Turn the stand mixer on high and beat the egg whites with a balloon whisk until they've almost formed stiff peaks. When the syrup mixture has reached 275 degrees F, slowly pour a thin stream into the mixer bowl with the mixer running. Mine always lumps up at first, then smooths out as more syrup heats the bowl and remelts any syrup lumps that formed at first. This mixture will get really marshmallowy. Beat in the almond butter, then immediately spread it into your parchment lined pan. When I made this version, it was really tricky to spread the nougat mixture because it was already setting up into the powdery candy. I ended up making another batch later just to have better pictures of the finished bars.
Step 3: Make Bacon Maple Caramel
1 C maple syrup
1/2 C cream
1/2 C bacon drippings
chopped bacon from step 1
1/2 t salt, if needed (depending on how salty your bacon is)
Heat the syrup, cream, and bacon drippings in a pot. Chop your bacon and add it. Boil, stirring often until the temperature reaches 230 degrees F. Pour the caramel over the nougat and spread it out evenly.
Step 4: Chill and Slice
Remove the candy from the pan, placing the parchment on a cookie sheet. Chill for at least 20 minutes. If you choose to make the crumbly nougat, this will be tough to slice cleanly, no matter which side is facing up. Once bars are sliced, place them back in the fridge until you're ready to dip them.
It can help hold the crumbly nougat together if you brush the nougat side with a thin layer of chocolate before chilling and dipping in the rest of the chocolate.
Step 5: Coat in Chocolate
20 oz chocolate - dark, milk, or a mixture (I recommend dark for the bacon candy bars)
Other instructables have great instructions on how to temper chocolate. I don't feel the need to reinvent the wheel here.
Drop your bars into the melted chocolate. Using your fingers if you're fast or two forks, scrape off the excess chocolate and place the candy bar on parchment to cool. The crumbly version of the nougat won't leave bits behind in the chocolate if you already coated it with a thin layer of chocolate.
I dropped my phone in chocolate at this point, so some of the coating pictures here are from my previous candy bar instructable. The process is the same.
If your chocolate was properly tempered, it should set up relatively quickly. You can store these bars at room temperature.
Thanks for reading! I hope you try your own; post pictures if you do.