Photo Disclaimer: JiT was working with his iPhone instead of his usual souped-up Nikon, so excuse the blurryness and just pretend you can see the bacon-bitsies in there.
Today's recipe is going to be a stretch for some of you -- actually, it was an eye-opener for me too. I must give full credit JiT for this entire little adventure:
Wednesday night, he came home and declared that he needed my "help" with a project for work. Oookkaayy. Apparently one of his colleagues has a love-affair with bacon and especially with, shall we say, "creative uses" of bacon -- something that seems to be a culinary trend of late. Appropriately, JiT's office declared today to be "Baconfest,"and naturally, JiT was ready to participate.
Initially, I'd suggested something like a loaded baked potato soup, or BLT-bites (baby tomatoes stuffed with blt goodies). JiT scoffed at those ideas, as they were clearly far too pedestrian for Baconfest. He suggested chocolate-dipped bacon, bacon-wrapped taffy apples (actually not a bad idea) or something equally wild.
While I'm all for adventure, experience has taught me that when wading into unchartered culinary territory, its best to do some serious research beforehand and start with something reliable...so to the Internet we went.
I'm actually amazed at the sheer variety of bacon-involved dessert recipes you can find, but as soon as I came across David Lebovitz's recipe for Candied Bacon Ice Cream, I knew we had something. For anyone with a bacon-and-NFL-loving boyfriend (or fiance) this recipe may be the perfect way to say "I love you"...
The ice cream itself is amazing, even before you add the bacon. Its a custard-style ice cream that involves hearty helpings of brown sugar, rum and vanilla -- along with just a hint of cinnamon. Right there he had me. All by itself, this is an amazing creation...rich and creamy with hints of spice. Of course, I could also picture it playing quite nicely alongside any number of fall desserts (p'rhaps the apple dumplings from the last post).
But then we add the bacon. Dear God help us...the bacon. Deliriously awesome candied bacon. The whole house smells like candied ham on crack...not to mention that its so simple to make I'm debating making a giant batch and passing it out as Halloween candy.
You basically take a few slices of regular old breakfast bacon, spread it out on a foil-lined cookie sheet, sprinkle liberally with brown sugar and throw it in the oven. Flip after several minutes and then forget about it until you can't stand the heavenly scent anymore. Pull it out, TRY your damndest to let it cool and then chop it into tiny pieces.
The ice cream mixture gets churned just like any other frozen delight and the bacon gets sprinkled in at the very end. The result: creamy, sweet, spicy heaven flecked with tiny bursts of sweet and salty bacon goodness.
As for the recipe, I followed David's nearly to the letter with a couple of minor tweaks -- first off, we doubled the batch for a crowd. For the liquor, I used Captain Morgan's Special Reserve dark rum...because its what we had on hand and also because its incredibly flavorful and spicy. Finally, instead of vanilla extract, I used my trusty vanilla bean paste. But since its still pretty close to perfect as-is, I suggest you take a trip over to David's site for the original recipe.
Now that I'm done waxing poetic about bacon, on to a few business notes. For awhile now, I've been meaning to update my blogroll with some of my favorite food and non-food blogs. I encourage you to take a stroll to my sidebar and peruse at your leisure for some fabulous food porn, hilarious stories and an introduction to some all-around great people.
Finally, as I'd mentioned in my last post, I'm sharing what I've been listening to on the iPod while cooking/posting. While making this ice cream, I was listening to The First Taste, by Fiona Apple. How appropriate.