Bacon Toffee

Let’s go over the rules:

You will not scoff at the idea of bacon toffee.

You will not consider, as an alternative, a low-fat toffee, a vegan toffee or a seitan toffee. I did not grab you by the mouse hand and force you to read my bacon blog.

You will not question yourself, hesitate, or dither while meez-en-placing your bacon toffee. Like Doctor Strangelove, there is no recall code.

You will not use bacon toffee as a promise, or the withholding of bacon toffee as a threat. Barter is perfectly acceptable.

You will not make bacon toffee for someone for whom you have an unrequited crush. He/she is unworthy and will break your heart. We both know that he or she is going to call Hershey Bar as soon as the candy cools. This is the way of nature. Just be smug and continue to stir.

You will not pause in the middle of making bacon toffee in order to cook yourself another strip of bacon. This means you, Mathews. Although truth be told I wouldn’t blame you.

You will not pause to reflect upon the following irony: Bacon Toffee is cooked to what candymakers call the “hard crack” stage. There will be plenty of time to think about this later when you are in the corner, twitching uncontrollably and ready to sell your TV for a dolla.

You will simply make bacon toffee.

I mention these rules because toffee is a shade more difficult than the usual “add pork products to this” stuff I typically like to prepare.

Seriously. At all times, you need to keep in your mind that you are preparing a large pan full of extremely dense, volatile, oozing hot sugar. Not only that, you are monitoring that mass of danger within a degree or two, and then dumping that mass on a larger, open surface.

Courtney (or other cooks/chefs reading this) is welcome to critique my understanding here, but this is where, I would presume, it would behoove you to think like, you know, an actual, trained, kitchen professional
.
You have to, for lack of a better phrase, BE THERE, throughout the entire process. You have to think about your equipment and choose the right spatula and the right pan. You have to think spatially, as well, like where to put the stuff you are adding to the pan without allowing their prep cups to get in the way once you pour the mixture out. Where is my oven mitt, little details that we can take for granted if we are roasting chicken but need to focus on a bit more carefully when making candy.

I mean, a lot of this “work” can be accomplished just by taking a moment or two before you start the process, and, as always, I don’t mean to over-complicate things. Just make sure you have the right tools, an open work area, and take a moment to measure your ingredients out first.

I promise you, the rules are worth it.

BACON TOFFEE

8 Strips of bacon, cooked until crispy, patted dry, and chopped
1.5C Sugar (sorry about that!)
1C Butter, cut into small pieces
3T Light Corn Syrup
3T Water
1 1/2C Raw almonds chopped
8 ounces of high quality (i.e., Ghriadelli)

EQUIPMENT:
Heavy-Bottomed Saucepan
Heat resistant spatula or wooden spoon with a squared edge (for reaching into the corner of the pan)
Candy Thermometer (you can also kind of Jerry-rig an instant read, but you DO need a thermometer unless you’ve made toffee about 10 times and can eyeball the correct point to stop the cooking)
Silpat

(Note: This is technically an “English Toffee,” because we are covering the sugar base with chocolate. This is how I’ve always done it, but I suppose you can omit the chocolate if you don’t care for it. Interestingly, there is a difference between “English Toffee,” and English toffee. Traditional English toffee is unadorned with either nuts or chocolate. “English Toffee,” is an American invention. Also, British recipes tend call for brown sugar rather than white. The differences in flavor are intuitive: white sugar will highlight the buttery flavor and brown sugar will have a more molasses-ey flavor. It might be interesting to experiment with a mixture of the two.)

Place a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat and add the butter, sugar, corn syrup and water. Stir the mixture, and monitor its temperature with your candy thermometer. When the temperature hits 305 (technically anything over 302), add the almonds and the bacon. The mixture might sieze up a little bit (as the cooler mass of the nuts and bacon will affect the viscosity of the sugar, but if you continue to stir for a moment, the mixture will return to its liquid state.

At this point, pour it out over your silpat-lined cookie sheet. BE VERY CAREFUL, because the mixture will be EXTREMELY hot. Spread the mixture out as thinly as possible.

Allow to cool for about 20 minutes before spreading on the chocolate. The toffee should be well-set, and have a bright sheen.

Melt your chocolate chips in the microwave (or in a double boiler if you have patience). For the microwave option, go in 15-second bursts, stirring each time so as not to scorch. Chocolate should be melted, warm, and uniform in texture. Spread overtop the toffee. Allow to cool completely. Break, portion, distribute. eat.

Remember when I told you not to laugh at the Bacon Toffee? You may now laugh. But it will be joy. This stuff is just about the most amazing thing ever.

13 thoughts on “Bacon Toffee

  1. That looks amazing. I’m truly sorry I missed the sampling of it in Cincy today. I’m pretty sure I don’t have the skills or patience to make it, but I would gladly pay good money for it. :)

  2. Thanks so much Karen! I should have brought more to the brunch, I neglected to consider that the Birthday Girl is a kind soul who passed around the container to share. I’ll try to save some for your visit.

  3. jeff, this is a sin. of the worst kind. the kind that makes girls like me forget about dieting and throw caution to the wind and consume huge amounts of this stuff. who the hell needs peppermint bark & egg nogg when they can have bacon toffee.

    i’ll be honest, i’m kinda scared about having to be present during the entire process. i’ve been known to step out of the kitchen while cooking…

  4. This is bookmarked. It’s another one of those pretty things I can look at all day.

    Don’t know whether to bless or curse you. :)

  5. How much sugar? ’cause i’m *thisclose* to storming into the kitchen to make this but i’m not seeing that listed!

  6. Ah, Jeff. This looks so amazing. Like really, AMAZING. You’re right, it’s all about the prep work and thinking it through before you start :)

  7. Thanks Everyone:

    Lan – You’re exactly right, I try to only make this stuff if I know I can give about 70% of it away. It’s fortunate that toffee preparation involves tangible danger.

    C – I will try to post more. Thanks, as always for the nudge.

    D’Anna – I know, right? I can live with being both blessed and cursed. It’s worth it.

    Cyd. Sorry about that. I’m seriously the only blogger who could post a toffee recipe and forget to mention the sugar. Note the fix.

    Courtney – Thanks. I mentioned the prep work because, too often, it’s something I neglect/just plain suck at. The things I’m most in awe about in terms of professionals are the little things one notices – not so much how to make consomme’ as it is how to cut onions. You know?

  8. Great googly moogly.

    If I was making this bacon toffee and a posse of burglers busted into my house, I don’t think I could bring myself to hurl the scalding hot bacon toffee mixture at them. Too good to waste.

  9. Lan,

    A “Real” baker would certainly answer “yes,” it matters. The amount of salt added to commercial butter is so variable that in order to keep the salt content consistent, it makes more sense to call for unsalted butter in recipes.

    However, as I’m sure you have noticed, I am not a “real” baker.

    Which brings me, unfortunately, into the realm of my personal life. (Feel Honored!)

    Due to a combination of economic pessimism (I am, as you may know, a native Michigander and and a collateral casualty of the Auto-Industry-Collapse-Diaspora, which hardwires me to think that I am days away from loosing my livelyhood. It is psychologically counterintuitive for me to make big financial commitments, so I don’t drive) and profound fear of “Normal” people… I find it almost impossible to live anywhere else but my current neighborhood.

    So what I am saying is that the store on the corner only has unsalted. And my baked goods taste just fine. ;)

    Jeff