Fickle Creek Farm. I stayed there last summer with Dorette and the Carolina on My Plate teen chefs from C'est si Bon! cooking school. They are very interesting animals. The ones at Fickle Creek are very social. They have a pretty good life. (It should be obvious that I am not a vegetarian...)
So, what happens when you combine that piggy and the chocolate bar (and a few other ingredients, of course)? Bacon Caramel Brownies. Yes, that's right. And a pan of them just came out of my oven. I stumbled upon the recipe last week as I was just cruising around food blogs and websites. I emailed it to Salamanzar because I know how he feels about bacon and his wife, Cupcake, made them. I tasted hers today. Really good- nice and soft just as a brownie should be. They tweaked the recipe just a bit (basically adding more bacon!) and I decided to give it a try. I already had a jar of caramel in the refrigerator from my salted butter caramel macaron filling from a couple of days ago.
Here's the brownie layer--
And here are the two combined, ready to head into the preheated oven--
Bacon Salted Caramel Brownies
(adapted from David Lebovitz and Savour Fare, with tweaking by Cupcake and me)
For the Bacon Caramel:
3-4 slices of thick-cut bacon, cut in half
1/2 c. heavy cream
1 c. sugar
6 Tbsp. salted butter
In a small saucepan, fry the bacon until crisp. (Watch nearby friends or family members because if you turn your back, the bacon will disappear-- trust me on this one!) Remove, bacon, set aside, reserving half of the bacon grease in the pan. Add cream to hot pan, scrape up the bits of bacon stuck to the bottom of the pan. Let cool. When bacon is cool, crumble or chop finely.
In a larger pan, heat the sugar over high heat until the mixture is liquid and a deep amber color. Stir to heat evenly and prevent burning. Add the butter and the cooled bacon cream all at once and stir until the butter is melted. Add the chopped bacon and let the mixture cool throughly.
For the Brownies:
8 Tbsp. salted butter, cut in pieces
6 oz. bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
1/4 c. unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
3 large eggs
1 c. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 c. flour
Preheat the oven to 350F.
Line an 8-inch square pan with two sheets of aluminum foil that covers the bottom and sides of the pan. Grease the foil with butter.
In a large microwaveable bowl, melt the butter and the chocolate together in the microwave (start with 30 seconds, and stir thoroughly, then microwave for 10 seconds at a time, stirring well between each round, until the chocolate is melted and incorporated into the butter-- you can also melt them together over the stove). Add the cocoa powder and whisk until smooth. Add the eggs, one at a time, the sugar and the vanilla, mixing well after each addition. Finally, add the flour and stir only until combined.
Spread half of the batter into the pan. Then drop about 1/3 of the bacon caramel, evenly spaced, over the brownie batter in the pan. It doesn't have to cover the whole batter but should be in splotches. Spread the remaining brownie batter over the top, then drop spoonfuls of the remaining caramel sauce over the top of the brownies and swirl.
Bake for 35-45 minutes, but err on the side of underbaking. Remove from the oven and cool completely. The caramel will still be pretty gooey, so you might want to wait to cut them until just prior to serving and / or store in the refrigerator.
Cut into small pieces (they are very rich!) and enjoy the salted caramel bacon goodness.
(I cut this one before it was completely cool-- I just couldn't wait.
Bon appétit, pig and chocolate lovers!