Bacon. Sweet sweet bacon. No really. Sweet. Literally sweet. Specifically, candied bacon. My family cannot get enough. I mean come on….what is not to love when it comes to this delicious, salty, crispy, savory, buttery, sweet, spicy, gooey goodness. My family started making this treat a few years ago and it seems to grace our table a lot around this time of year. I like food to have meaning. A history. Tradition.
When trying to figure out what to share with you this week, I knew I was going to make candied bacon but I hadn’t figured out the vehicle in which the bacon was to get into your mouth (besides by itself, which you will do plenty of if you make this). I needed ingredients that would compete but also compliment this superstar delight. What’s a better partner than a wedge salad with lots of strong toppings like bleu cheese and onion? I like a good wedge and have recently realized that it is easy to make at home and much more cost effective than ordering one at your favorite steak house. You also get to choose your own toppings….like candied bacon. So here it is. Drooooool…
Candied Bacon Wedge Salad
1 head of iceberg lettuce
bleu cheese dressing
bleu cheese crumbles
candied bacon (see recipe below)
Cut head of lettuce into at least 4 parts removing the core. I like a smaller wedge (8 parts) as it allows for a better lettuce to toppings ratio. Chop red onion, chives, tomatoes and bacon into whatever size you desire. Plate the wedge with a healthy spoonful of bleu cheese dressing, which you can make from scratch…but my 6 month old wouldn’t allow it. Sprinkle bleu cheese crumbles, onions, tomatoes, chives and, finally, the candied bacon on top…liberally. This will change your wedge salad life. Or maybe your life in general.
3/4lb – 1 lb bacon
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup pure maple syrup (or as needed)
Preheat oven to 375. Line a cookie sheet with tin foil. Set a metal baking rack into the prepared pan. Combine brown sugar, cayenne pepper and cinnamon into a bowl. The ingredient ratio for the sugar mixture is 1 cup to 1 tsp. So if you feel like you need more or less, just use that as a guide. I like 1/2 cup to 1/2 tsp, but you may need a little more or less. Lay out the bacon onto the rack and press 1/2 of the sugar mixture onto the strips of bacon. Bake for 20-25 minutes. You should see the bacon getting a little crisp on the edges.
Remove bacon from the oven and brush 1/2 of the maple syrup onto the bacon strips. Let sit for 1-2 minutes then flip the bacon over. Brush the other half of the maple syrup onto the bacon and press the remaining sugar mix onto the strips evenly. Bake for an additional 20-30 minutes. I typically think more oven time is better as you will have more of a bacon “stick.” Let it bake until it is done but don’t let it burn. Let cool and enjoy (or add to a salad…see above).