Spicy Maple Candied Bacon

While working out the activity schedule for my Sweet Escape Retreat, I knew that a maple syrup cooking class was practically a requirement.

We were, after all, heading to Vermont--the largest producer of maple syrup in the United States.

In the demo, I talked a bit about the different grades of maple syrup, and explained how the letters (A and B) signify the strength of flavor and color, not the quality. I then shared a couple recipes that feature maple syrup, talking about what grade would be best for each kind.

The first of these recipes was a very simple Spicy Maple Candied Bacon Recipe, which took mere minutes to prepare, and was an absolute hit once it came out of the oven.

To make, you simply whisk together an easy glaze of maple syrup, spicy brown mustard, with a bit of kosher salt and cayenne pepper for an added kick.

This is brushed over slices of thick smoked bacon (I love the Black Forest kind), and then baked for about 12 minutes, then flipped and brushed with more maple glaze and a sprinkle of coconut palm sugar before returning to the oven for about 15 more minutes. (You can use brown sugar, too, but I recommend you try the coconut sugar--it's wonderful!)

The result is smokey, salty, sticky and crunchy--absolute bacon heaven! Perfect for including in burgers or sandwiches, chopping over a salad, or just serving alongside brunch time egg dish like we did.

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Spicy Maple Candied Bacon Recipe

1 pound thick-cut smoked bacon (such as Black Forest)
1/2 cup grade B maple syrup (substitute grade A maple syrup, but grade B has a stronger flavor that's better for cooking)
1 tablespoon spicy brown or dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne
2 tablespoons coconut palm sugar (substitute brown sugar if you prefer)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil and top with a cooling rack. Arrange bacon slices next to each other on the rack. In a small bowl, whisk together the maple syrup, mustard, salt and cayenne. 
Brush half of the syrup mixture generously on the bacon and bake 12 minutes. Remove from oven, flip bacon, and brush the other side with the rest of the syrup.
Sprinkle the strips with the coconut palm sugar, and return to the oven for another 15 minutes, or until bacon is crisp on the edges. Let the bacon cool on the rack for just 1-2 minutes before transferring to a serving platter (if you wait too long, the bacon will harden and make it nearly impossible to remove from the rack!).
Let cool a bit more before serving (the bacon will continue to crisp up as it cools).

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