Photo: Kevin Pang

I’m a pretty pro-bacon person: I make BLTs on the reg, and would never kick it out of any salad, sandwich, or pasta. Using the beloved cured meat slab as dessert, though, I may have an issue with: Candied bacon? What the hell is that about? It’s like putting bacon with ice cream and/or chocolate: Maybe some wonderful things just aren’t supposed to mix?

Turns out, I’m wrong as usual. Takeout editor Kevin Pang (who, after all, has a recipe for chocolate chip bacon cookies) suggested that I try his easy method for candied bacon, which I whipped up this morning before people were even awake. You can see it all in this magical video:

It actually couldn’t be simpler. Just spread out the bacon (on a rack over a cookie sheet if you have one), smear with brown sugar, and add black pepper on top, even some cayenne if you want to go spicier. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. (You guys all know that baking bacon is 100x easier than frying it on the stovetop anyway, right? Yeah, you’re good. You all knew that.)

I don’t have a rack, but this should give you the general idea.
Photo: Gwen Ihnat

I had no trouble rousing people from sleep this morning, as the smell of candied bacon made for an amazing olfactory alarm clock. The bacon was chewy, slightly sticky, and straight-up delicious on its own. My son said it tasted like a bacon-wrapped date, without the annoyance of the “wrapping the date” part.

But then I couldn’t help but think of millions of other possibilities for it. It would definitely take my BLTs to the next level. Or I could make a goat cheese, dried cranberry, candied bacon salad. Pancake sandwich with candied bacon in the middle. Some candied bacon crumbled and baked on top of a nice salted brownie. The possibilities are seemingly endless. The few moments it takes to sprinkle your bacon with brown sugar and pepper is well worth this singular taste sensation.

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Candied bacon

  • 1 package thick-cut bacon
  • Brown sugar
  • Black pepper
  • Cayenne pepper (optional)

Lay out raw bacon on a rack over a cookie sheet. Top with brown sugar, smeared with a spoon. Sprinkle with fresh-ground black pepper, and some cayenne as well. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes and enjoy.

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