Introduction: Peppery Chocolate Covered Bacon Twigs
Bacon in desserts is all in right now. So why not pair it with one of the best desserts ever? Chocolate! Ground pepper on the outside might seem a little outlandish, but it helps cut the sweet and tie everything together. If you want to skip or sub anything for it though, you're free to do so, but I suggest just trying a little bit of it, and you'll see what I mean. It gives it that extra little bite.
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Step 1: What You Need
The ingredients for the twigs are actually very few. However, it does take a bit of hardware. Here's the list -
Chocolate! (I used semi-sweet chocolate chips. They were good without getting super sweet)
Ground Black Pepper
And a tiny, tiny little bit of butter. (Not in the picture, because I thought of it afterwards, but still necessary)
There are really no measurements for this recipe. Get however much bacon you want to coat, enough chocolate to coat it, and however much pepper you want to give it a bite.
Cooking sheet with drip rack
A double boiler (or if you're like me and don't have one, a pan and something to go over the pan... Hey, whatever works, right?)
A spoon to mix chocolate and help coat
A paper towel lined plate for draining bacon
A tray lined with either wax paper, parchment paper or tinfoil, to let the chocolate harden on
Step 2: Cut the Bacon
I didn't want a huge chunk of bacon to work with, so I cut it into thin strips. Cut it in half then in quarters. It's not the easiest thing in the world to cut bacon into thin strips, but with a little careful work you can do it. I kept the strips long, but they get fragile after baking and they mostly broke in half on me anyway. By cutting them in half afterwards it would also make them easier to handle in the dipping stages, so I'd probably go that way next time.
Step 3: Bake the Bacon!
I chose to cook them in an oven instead of a pan so they wouldn't curl up on me. 375 degrees for 15 minutes was enough for them to get crispy for me. Just lay them all out on the wire rack so they aren't overlapping, and once they are done drain them on the paper towel lined plate.
Let cool before dipping in chocolate (it shouldn't take long, probably no more than it actually takes to melt the chocolate.)
And I can't say it enough: Don't get rid of the bacon fat! It has dripped onto the bottom cookie sheet, and its great stuff to use.
Step 4: Melt the Chocolate
Put the chocolate chips in your metal vessel, and add just a half teaspoon of butter per 2/3rd cup of chocolate. The butter gives it a glossy shine when it sets up.
Fill the bottom part of your boiler with just an inch or so of water. Now, since I didn't have a double boiler, I found that it was a little helpful to stick a knife down in the water to support my metal cup. This kept the chocolate above the direct heat to help from overcooking the chocolate. It didn't work so great while you were trying to mix the chocolate, but while your water is heating up it works well.
On the stove, melt the chocolate until smooth and creamy.
Step 5: Bring It All Together
You can use whatever method of getting chocolate onto the bacon. I tried using a spoon and running the bacon across it. It worked ok. To save myself from a terrible mess I did one half at a time, letting the first half set before doing the next side. Next time, I would just dip the whole thing in the chocolate and not worry what got on my fingers, 'cause I got chocolate on me anyway. Before the chocolate sets sprinkle with the secret ingredient: Pepper.
Now the bacon is really fragile at this point, so as I said, I wouldn't try doing long sticks again (unless perhaps I had enough chocolate that I could set them on another wire rack and just poor it over like they do in major assembly lines... but that's just too much wasted chocolate for me.)
Oh, and if you are trying to speed up the process, a moment or two in the freezer helps the chocolate set. This helps if you are trying the one end at the time method. (If you do the one end at a time thing, make sure to sprinkle with pepper after both dips, to get it all covered.)
Step 6: Probably the Best Step: EAT!
Let the chocolate set up and then:
MMMM... A rather unconventional match, but one that's well worth overcoming your hesitation with and trying!
(And please, try the pepper on it! I made it both with and without, and it is soo much better with the black pepper!)