Recipe: Bacon S’mores
Summary: Winner of the 2011 Bacon Takedown Best Sweet at SXSW in Austin, TX. These candies start with a layer of graham cracker caramel, topped with bacon marshmallows, dipped in dark chocolate, and finished with a sprinkling of bacon powder.
**** Hint **** Cook the bacon for the marshmallow layer BEFORE you start the caramel layer.
- Quick Notes
You can use 2 smaller pans but it is hard to pour liquid caramel evenly in 2 separate pans. One layer may be thicker than the other. Also if you use foil instead of parchment paper, you must grease it with butter or cooking spray. this causes the caramel to pool in spots and hard to spread evenly. Spring for the parchment paper. It will change how you cook and clean!
I found that using all dark corn syrup was a little too molasses like in taste. You could easily use all dark if you prefer or all light corn syrup for a lighter caramel.
Summary: The caramel layer can cool slightly while you prepare the marshmallow layer. If the caramel is too hot, it will melt the marshmallow but if it is too cool, they will not stick together. It should be warm to the touch but firm and not runny.
I find the easiest and cleanest way to cook bacon is in a single layer on a parchment lined sheet tray. About 1 pound should fit per pan. In order to get the bacon crispy enough to contrast with the fluffy marshmallow, cook it about 275 degrees for approximately 1-1 1/2 hours. After 45 minutes, check it every 15 minutes until it is done. ***Remember to cook the bacon BEFORE you start the caramel***
Summary: Here is were the molecular gastronomy part comes in. This is my take on Grant Achatz recipe in the Alinea cookbook. The point of his powder is to be a total powder in contrast to actual bacon. I found I liked the contrast of the ground up bacon mixed with the powder for this application.
I found the tapioca maltodextrin in a 1 pound tub on Amazon.com. This is more than enough to share with your adventurous chef friends. I want to try a foie powder next! Word of warning, this stuff is very light and fluffy like powdered sugar and it gets everywhere. Salt is also very important to bring out the right flavor. Too little and it tastes like powdered fat. Achatz’ recipe calls for pepper as well but that did not work so well for this.
I used a small cookie cutter to make my candies into heart shapes. My caramel was initially too hard to cut into shapes, so I used a heating pad on medium set underneath the pan to warm the caramel but not melt the marshmallow. Melt at least 2 pounds of chocolate in a double boiler to dip candies in. I used 60% Ghirardelli chocolate chips. Ideally, you should use a couverture chocolate and properly temper it to acheive a sheen and snap to the chocolate. If the weather is not too warm out you can get away with good quality melted chocolate chips like the Ghirardelli which will not temper but hold their shape fairly well. The better your chocolate, the better your results. I would not use generic chocolate chips, even the Nestles do not melt well. They have additives to keep their shape when you bake them. Please do not ever use dipping chocolate. That stuff is just gross.
I used a fondue fork and a long wooden skewer to dip the candies. First use the fondue fork to pierce the side of the candy. It should be secure enough to stay on while dipping but keep in mind you need to get it off the fork once dipped. The wooden skewer helps with removal from the fork. Dip far enough up the sides so just the top of the marshmallow is exposed. Let the chocolate set up for several hours or overnight.
The funnest part of all! You must have a blowtorch to properly brulee the tops. The oven broiler will get the chocolate too melty. The blowtorch will soften the chocolate along the sides but after a few minutes, they should be stable enough to handle. You can use one of those cute little creme brulee torches but a full size torch is about the same price and WAY more efficient. Get one with a trigger and it is super simple to start and control your flame. You want the kind that comes wth a blue container for the gas. The yellow container is not for human consumption.
Sprinkle the bacon powder over the top and serve! Yes, I know these are way more complicated than marshmallow on a stick but I truly enjoyed the whole process and I hope you do too!