You're going to flip with the first taste of this Maple Mustard Candied Bacon! It's smoky, sweet, salty, savory, crispy and ridiculously delicious! It's fabulous as a topping on salads, soups, burgers, pizzas, etc. and makes an amazing addition to a cheeseboard!
Last week our son, Nick and his family came for dinner one evening. I was serving pork tenderloin with a Clementine Cranberry Arugula Salad. This Maple Mustard Candied Bacon was one of the components of the salad. I had a little dish of the bacon sitting on the counter and gave Nick a sneak preview taste before dinner. His eyes got big and he said: "Wow! I think I'd rather have this (bacon) than dessert!" He's a huge dessert lover, and I was serving this Ridiculously Easy Sticky Toffee Pudding - so that spoke volumes!
It seems that everyone who tries this unusual bacon has the same, deliciously surprised reaction as Nick did, a big "wow"!
What is candied bacon?
You might be wondering, "what in the world is candied bacon"? Candied bacon (aka Billionaire's Bacon) is bacon (usually thick-cut) that's baked with a coating of sugar until it gets deeply caramelized and crisp. Some recipes call for brown sugar, some raw sugar and some a combination of sugars. There are lots of other flavor additions like chili powder, cinnamon, black pepper, etc.
I had fun with my candied bacon. I used brown sugar, a splash of maple syrup, lots of grainy mustard and a generous pinch of cayenne pepper for just a touch of heat. The mustard adds a nice savory touch in contrast to the sweet sugar and syrup and the grains of whole mustard seed give a fun rustic presentation.
How to use candied bacon?
Besides eating as a delicious snack (like candy), candied bacon is fabulous as an appetizer and on cheese trays.
It's also wonderful as a topping for salads and soups, in sandwiches and burgers and on pizzas, to name a few. In addition to all these savory ideas, candied bacon can also be used for desserts! Yes, break the bacon up and sprinkle it on ice cream, cake or brownies for an indulgent sweet/savory treat.
You might want to make a batch to be ready for an upcoming post of ours! This Cranberry Clementine Arugula Salad is honestly one of our favorite salads of all time! It's perfect for entertaining and makes a fabulous light lunch or dinner with rotisserie or grilled chicken.
Then again, I should probably warn you. If you make a batch of this Maple Mustard Candied Bacon now, I'm pretty sure it's not going to last until the next post comes out. But you could say you're "practicing" for the next post. That would work!
Café Tips for making this recipe
- It's best to use thick-cut bacon for this recipe. I like to use smoky applewood bacon. We really like the applewood bacon from Costco.
- You'll need a sheet pan for this recipe and a cooling rack (with a fairly tight mesh) that fits in the sheet pan. I really like the cooling rack pictured below (on the top) . It's made by OXO and is super durable with a nice, non-stick finish. They also carry a sheet pan/cooling rack duo (lower image) which I love. The cooling rack fits perfectly into the pan and has nice little handles to pick it up with. Either the cooling rack alone or the set would be a wonderful gift for someone who enjoys baking and/or cooking.
- Look for a grainy, not smooth mustard. I really like the Grainy Whole Grain Mustard from Trader Joes. It's imported from France and is not expensive.
- Be sure to line your sheet pan with foil unless you don't mind cleaning up a mess. With foil all you have to do is let things cool a bit then pick up the foil and discard it.
- This recipe includes a teaspoon of cayenne pepper, but the bacon itself is not very hot. If you like things with a little more heat, sprinkle some extra cayenne on the bacon before baking.
- This candied bacon can be stored in the refrigerator. I like to keep it in an airtight container, layered between sheets of parchment or waxed paper. In can be warmed in the microwave on high power for 20-30 seconds or in a pan over low heat.
- It really helps with cleanup, to spray the cooling rack with cooking spray before adding the bacon.
You're going to flip at the first taste of this Maple Mustard Candied Bacon! It's smoky, sweet, salty, savory, crispy and ridiculously delicious! It's fabulous as a topping on salads, soups, burgers, pizzas, etc. and makes an amazing addition to a cheeseboard!
- 1 pound thick-cut smoky bacon (I really like Applewood cured bacon.)
- ½ cup light or dark brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons coarse-grain mustard
- 2 tablespoon maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Place a piece of parchment paper, about 18-inches long on the counter for cooling the bacon once it’s baked.
Line a half sheet pan with foil with edges extending over the top of the pan. You could also use parchment paper, but be sure to use a piece large enough that the edges extend over the pan. Set a cooling rack with a fairly tight mesh (see Café tips above in post) into the pan. Spray the wires of the rack with non-stick cooking spray.
Cut the bacon into 1-inch squares and set aside.
Mix the brown sugar, mustard, maple syrup and cayenne pepper in a large bowl.
Add the bacon to the brown sugar mixture and stir gently to coat.
Place the bacon squares on the wire rack that’s been set over a foil-covered sheet pan.
Bake for 35-50 minutes, until the bacon, is a deep mahogany color and crisp. Brush the bacon with the remaining maple-mustard mixture halfway through baking. (The exact cooking time will depend on the thickness of your bacon.)
Let the bacon cool for a minute or two then transfer to the parchment paper. It will be a bit flexible while it’s still hot from the oven but will cool into crisp pieces.
Serve the bacon warm or at room temperature. Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container, layered with parchment paper or wax paper in between. You can warm it in the microwave or in a dry pan over low heat.
See Café Tips above in post for further instructions and more detailed tips.
If you enjoyed this recipe, please come back and leave a star rating and review! It’s so helpful to other readers to hear other’s results and ideas for variations.
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