• Today Is National Caramel Day! Posted on April 05, 2013

    Tagged as: Candy caramel Cooking grease Recipe Salt sliced sugar

    Today Is National Caramel Day! Try these Chipotle Bacon Caramels! This is not a simple recipe but it’s pretty darn mouth watering and I would dare to say worth the wait. So feelin’ adventurous? Dare to tackle this tasty treat? INGREDIENTS Candied Chipotle Bacon: 3/4 lb Mountain Smokehouse Chipotle Bacon, or other good quality, thick-cut bacon (7 – 8 slices) 3 tbsp raw sugar (organic turbinado) about 1/4 tsp ground chipotle pepper about 1/4 tsp fleur de sel about 1/8 tsp ground cayenne pepper Caramel: 3/4 cup heavy cream 1/2 tsp Mexican vanilla extract (or regular vanilla extract) 4 tbsp butter, cut into cubes and at room temperature, divided (I used unsalted) 1/4 tsp fleur de sel, plus extra for garnish 1 cup sugar (organic evaporated cane juice) 1/2 cup light corn syrup DIRECTIONS: Cook bacon. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Lay bacon slices out on top of a broiler pan (or in a baking sheet with sides). Sprinkle liberally with chipotle, then cayenne pepper. Layer with turbinado sugar then sprinkle with fleur de sel. Bake in the pre-heated oven, turning strips over once during the cooking time (sprinkle again with chipotle, cayenne, sugar and salt), until very crisp, about 20 – 25 minutes. Remove to a cooling rack over a plate to catch grease (paper towels will stick to candied bacon). Prepare mise en place for caramel. Line a 10-inch loaf pan with aluminum foil and spray with cooking spray; set aside. Gather and measure out ingredients. Heat cream, 2 tbsp of butter, vanilla and 1/4 tsp of fleur de sel in a small saucepan over medium heat until the mixture comes to a boil. Remove from heat, cover, and keep warm. Cook syrup. Place a metal strainer, that fits your syrup pan, near the stove. In a Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed saucepan, add sugar and corn syrup. Heat over medium flame, stirring gently, until sugar is dissolved (less than 5 minutes); continue heating, stirring minimally, only in order to avoid any hotspots, until a candy thermometer reads 310 degrees F. Add cream. Remove from heat, add cream mixture through the strainer (to prevent splatter and burning caramel landing on your skin), and stir quickly to incorporate cream into hot syrup. Continue stirring rapidly until the mixture is smooth. Heat caramel. Return to heat and cook the mixture, stirring occasionally, to 260 degrees F (hard ball stage). Add butter, bacon, and pour. Remove from heat, add butter and stir until smooth. Add in about half of the bacon and stir to incorporate. Pour caramel into the prepared loaf pan. Tap the pan on the counter a few times to level the top; sprinkle the remaining bacon evenly across the top of the caramel. Finish with a sprinkling of fleur de sel. Cool and slice. Allow caramel to cool completely on a rack (I allowed mine to cool at room temperature for 3 hours, then stored overnight in the refrigerator before slicing, mainly because it is high summer and 90+ degrees). Lift out the caramel with the foil, peel foil away and slice caramel with a long sharp knife (if refrigerated allow to warm to room temperature, or just slightly cooler than room temperature, before slicing. Heat a knife blade over a flame to facilitate a clean, easy cut). Yields 72 bite-sized morsels of spiced-bacon-candy-goodness. Photo & recipe courtesy of: http://thedailybacon.com/2010/09/02/better-with-bacon-chipotle-bacon-caramels/

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