Occasionally I see a recipe that makes me think, “Who would have ever thought of that?” But now that I watch “Chopped” on the Food Network I understand how inventive professional cooks can be, so I’m not as surprised at unusual combinations in food.
But, having said that, I was still surprised and intrigued by a recipe in the newspaper last week that was a chocolate bark with bacon in it. So I made some of it to take to a party on Saturday night and it was a big hit!
Well, because I enjoy taking something that “is a big hit” to a party, I’m going to make it again for a party this coming Friday night.
Here is the recipe and a picture (with my comments in blue). In case you want to be a “hit” too!
12 oz. maple or brown sugar bacon
2 12-oz. packages milk chocolate bits
1 1/2 C. chopped peanuts, salted or not (I used lightly salted)
1 10-oz. bag soft candy caramels (I used caramel bits made specifically to melt.)
large flake sea salt (I just used the sea salt I had on hand. I have no idea if it’s “large flake” or not, but it does look flakey.)
Line a baking sheet with waxed or parchment paper.
(Before you do this first step, let me tell you that I instead did the bacon in the microwave because I knew it would get uniformly done.) Heat a large saute pan over medium high. Working in batches add the bacon and cook until very crisp, about 10 to 12 minutes.
Place the chocolate bits in a medium microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring every 20 seconds, or until melted and smooth. Pour the chocolate onto the prepared baking sheet, then tap it on the counter to settle the chocolate into an even, smooth puddle.
Immediately sprinkle the chopped peanuts and crumbled bacon evenly over the chocolate. (I gently pressed them down into the chocolate to ensure they stayed put after it hardened.) Allow the chocolate to fully harden, about 15 to 20 minutes.
Meanwhile place the caramels in a medium microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring every 20 seconds, or until melted and smooth. Drizzle the caramel over the bark, then sprinkle lightly with the sea salt. Allow to cool and harden, then break into pieces.
Next time I will mic both the chocolate and the caramel just a little longer so that they spread thinner. And this first time I made this just a couple hours before the party and it tasted very salty. But when we ate a few leftover pieces the next day, it didn’t taste as salty. So I’ll make it a day ahead from now on.
No one is more surprised than me that this may become a recipe we make every year!