Bacon Blog #5 - Sweet & Savory

February 4, 2013
Flavor Ingredients Trends
Desserts are the sweet ending to that makes any meal complete.  And while it certainly isn’t my least favorite part of a meal, it could use some improvement.  For the most part desserts are loaded with sugar and layer sweet upon sweet upon sweet.  I’ve always been partial to salty rather than sweet, so it’s no surprise that most of the time when dessert rolls around I could take it or leave it.  That is unless you add bacon.

Salty and sweet is nothing new.  It works great with things like salted caramel and chocolate covered pretzels, but bacon and sweet adds new depth.  Bacon isn’t just adding salt, it adds an overall savory note by bringing in a smoky, meaty flavor to sweet treats that is completely unique.  The easiest way to have bacon for dessert is to just coat it in chocolate or caramel.  Fry up some bacon nice and crispy and dip into your coating of choice.  Let it set up a bit and there is no possible way you will regret eating this treat.  For a more elaborate dessert, incorporating bacon into baked goods has equally good success.  Two of my favorite baked goods are maple bacon cheesecake and bacon chocolate cupcakes.

For the maple bacon cheesecake I like to use a standard cheesecake recipe and a smoky bacon to help cut some of the richness.  Rather than use maple bacon I use maple syrup to provide the maple taste.  I found that the best way to add the bacon is to precook the graham cracker crust, then cover it with a generous layer of crumbled crispy bacon before adding the filling on top.  It is important to note that crisp bacon crumbles work best here as they tend to soften a bit during the cheesecake cooking process.  When all is said and done you have a rich, creamy cheesecake with a salty layer of goodness separating your crust and cake.

But my favorite dessert by far is the bacon chocolate cupcakes.  Now this can be as simple as adding crumbled bacon to a packaged box mix, but I like to go with homemade cupcakes.  Of course, you will want to add crumbled bacon to the batter, but I also like to replace some of the oil or butter with left over bacon grease.  This step will help drive the bacon flavor throughout every bite.  If you want to really go for the gusto (and let’s face it who doesn’t?) you can precook your bacon into a circle using your muffin tin and then insert into the cupcake liner before adding the batter.  This gives a good effect that screams BACON! in addition to the crumbled bacon within the cupcake.  But be aware that the bacon ring will affect the heat transfer from the pan to the cupcakes and alter your cooking time.

Now to make these great desserts available on a large scale, I would recommend a dry bacon flavor to incorporate into a packaged cupcake mix.  This would allow for the smoky taste in the product and could create a wonderful aroma while baking.  For the cheesecake it might be better to pre-flavor the cream cheese with an oil soluble bacon flavor.  This would allow for the bacon flavor in your cheesecake, but could also double as an interesting twist on your bagel.  However you choose to enjoy dessert, next time think about how you can make your sweet treat a little more savory.