I had some bacon in the fridge that was getting old so I decided to cook the lot of it in the oven. I usually use maple sugar when I make this stuff but decided on brown sugar for this batch. While rummaging in the cupboard I ran across a jar of ground red pepper. The peppers grew on an “ornamental” pepper plant but they looked useful and I am loathe to throw things away. I ground them in my spice mill and put them back, waiting for a special occasion. Today I sprinkled them onto the bacon, along with ground black pepper and the sugar. You can see the tiny seeds on the bacon in the photos. This stuff is awesome. Bacon is not hard to cook in the oven, lay it out on a rack inside a baking tray. Cooking plain bacon you can get by without lining the tray with foil but this sugar coated stuff will make you wish you had the first time you forget. Or the second time. I’m slow. I set the temp at 350 for this batch, thicker bacon wants a lower temperature setting. Flip the bacon after 15 minutes and sprinkle the other side with the pepper and sugar. (Maple syrup works great on these!) The bacon will render as it cooks and will give up moisture, in the last few minutes the rashers go from not quite done to just right and you better be ready because another minute is too much. [Edit to add photo:]I mentioned that I was, um.. retentive. These are the little peppers I dried and ground and saved. In 2010.
Am I the last person in the world to hear about this? I casually mentioned I cooked some bacon in the oven in a thread at another venue and a comment there linked to a Google image search for “candied bacon”. The pictures there made me go straight to Amazon to order some maple sugar.Sprinkle some of the maple sugar (brown sugar also works) on sliced bacon laid on a rack over a foil lined baking tray and pop it into a 400 oven for 15 minutes. Flip the bacon over and sprinkle sugar on the other side and give it another ten minutes or so.This stuff is sweet enough to crumble atop a bowl of ice cream. My brief perusal of the recipes that a “maple sugar” + “bacon” Google search yielded gave me hints of several variations on the basic recipe. Some mentioned a mustard/sugar mix, others spoke highly of cinnamon as an addition, and more yet called for cayenne pepper. I may be busy tomorrow!
Cross-posted at Balloon-Juice
I don’t know about you guys, but I’m having fun with these Thursday night recipe posts. Thanks for playing.
I love chocolate, so it’s usually my sweet of choice. But a very close second is fruit desserts. Strawberries, apples, oranges, blueberries, citrus anything, I love them all. So I have a wide range of fruit dessert recipes available:
It was hard to narrow down the recipe for tonight, I ended up choosing two, Perfect Apple Crisp and Sour Cream Lemon-Poppy Seed Cake. One is decadant, one is quick and easy. What fruit desserts make the top of your list? Hit the comments with the recipes. Next week: I’ll be traveling again, but I’m thinking pizza, since JeffreyW has so many varieties and I’m usually hunting perfect pizza places while I travel.
On to tonight’s recipes.
This is one of the most requested birthday cakes at our office:
Sour Cream Lemon-Poppy Seed Pound Cake
You’ll want to prep the lemon juice, lime juice and zests ahead of time. You’ll need 2 lemons and 3 limes to complete the recipe.
- 2 ½ cups sugar
- 6 large eggs, room temperature
- 1 tbsp lemon zest
- 1 tbsp lime zest
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 2 tbsp lime juice
- 2 sticks (1 cup) melted butter, cooled slightly
- 1 cup sour cream
- Dash of salt
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 3 cups flour
- 2 tbsp poppy seeds
Bundt or Angel Food pan, greased and floured
Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
Mix sugar, eggs, zests, lemon, juice, limejuice, sour cream, butter and salt until well blended. Mix together flour and baking soda. Add flour mixture in three sections to egg mixture, mixing until blended, but do not over blend. Fold in poppy seeds. Pour into prepared pan and bake for 75-90 minutes until toothpick comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes, or until cool to touch, then remove from pan to cool completely, about 2 hours.
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tbsp lime juice
- Dash of vanilla extract
Whisk together until smooth. Pour over the top of cooled cake. Let stand about 10 minutes until set.
Next is a different take on apple crisp. I had seen video of a recipe that pre-cooked the apples in a cast iron skillet. The idea looked really good and since I’m all about cooking in my cast iron skillets, I thought I’d give it a whirl. And I have to say, that yes it did make the best apple crisp ever. It allows the apples to fully cook, then you can bake the “crisp” part at a higher temperature for a shorter time, giving it a really crisp top.
Cast Iron Apple Crisp
- 2 lbs apples – mix of sweet and tart (about 3 apples)
- 2 tbsp butter
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- dash of cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger to taste
- 1/2 cup brown sugar (more as desired)
- ½ cup butter, melted
- 1 cup rolled oats (not instant)
- 1 cup flour
10 inch cast iron skillet and small mixing bowl
Core and cut apples into small pieces (about 1/2 inch). Peeling is optional, but with this method the peels cook nice and soft, so it isn’t necessary.
Melt butter in skillet, add apples and sugar, stir until apples are well coated. Cover and cook on medium heat until apple mixture is soft and caramelized, stirring occasionally. About 20-30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
In mixing bowl, stir together butter, sugar, flour and oats, mix until crumbly. Crumble over the apple mixture. Bake for 10-15 minutes, just until top is crispy golden brown. Let cool 10 minutes and serve warm.
What makes this so good is that because the apples are cooked on the stovetop, you can use a much higher heat in the oven and get a good, crisp top without drying the whole mixture out or under cooking the apples. Really, this is one of the best apple crisps I’ve made.
Alternately, if you don’t have an oven-proof skillet, you can transfer the cooked apple mixture to a glass baking dish, add topping and bake that way.
These are pretty and very tasty. They’re easy and just a touch above regular chocolate chip cookies.
Chocolate-Chocolate Chip Cookies
- 1 cup + 2 tbsp butter
- 1 cup dark brown sugar
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 eggs
- 2 tsp vanilla
- dash of salt
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 2 cups flour
- 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
- 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 1 cup nuts (walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds or peanuts), chopped
mixing bowl and cookie sheet
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Cream together butter and sugars. Add eggs and vanilla, mixing well. Sift together salt, soda, flour and cocoa, then add to butter mixture, blending well. Add nuts and chocolate chips. Spoon onto cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes. Cool on cooling rack.