Do you remember the commercials from years ago for those peanut butter and chocolate treats? “Hey, you got peanut butter on my chocolate!” “No, you got chocolate in my peanut butter!” Then, both annoyed parties try the unplanned combination and decide it tastes pretty delicious after all.
Maybe that’s how a certain combination of flavors—a staple of the breakfast table paired up with some chocolate from the candy shop—has slowly gained in popularity. Sweet chocolate and salty bacon. It’s an interesting combination for sure. You get the familiar candy sweetness from the chocolate, followed by a smoky flavor from the crispy bacon.
In the last decade, this unlikely pair has shown up everywhere from state fairs in Minnesota, to the boardwalk, for seaside visitors, in sunny Santa Cruz, California. At a quaint chocolate shop called Roni-Sue’s Chocolates in New York City, the chocolate and bacon duo is sold as “pig candy,” and adored by many people.
Chef Michael Symon, a restaurateur, cookbook author, host of ABC’s The Chew, and all-around lover of bacon, appeared on a segment of Food Network’s Dinner Impossible, where he brought his love of bacon and chocolate to the summer crowd on the boardwalk at the New Jersey shore. Symon called it his “mission” to elevate boardwalk food to gourmet status, and strips of chocolate-dipped bacon covered in chopped almonds were his culinary weapon of choice.
There are different ratios of chocolate to bacon flavor depending on the recipe and the method of mixing these flavors. Michael Symon’s recipe calls for dipping strips of cooked bacon in silky, melted chocolate. He also adds a thin layer of chopped nuts for an added crunch.
If you want more of a chocolate presence, you can try making a rich, decadent fudge, flecked with bits of chopped bacon. Try this recipe from Food Network’s Alton Brown for a fudge dessert with notes of bacon flavor.
How do you cook your bacon? An easy, foolproof method is to place a baking rack, with holes, on a sheet pan and line up your strips of bacon. Place in a 350 F oven for about 15 minutes. Any residual grease will drip off the bacon, drain through the baking rack, and pool on the sheet pan, giving you the crispest bacon slices.
Chocolate and bacon are like the two people who seem to have nothing in common: an unusual pair that works together. Think outside the satin, heart-shaped box this Valentine’s Day and make a batch of these sweet and salty treats for someone special.
Alice Knisley Matthias is a mom of two boys who love to trade weird-but-true facts. She writes about food, family, education and garden. She loves to cook, grow fresh herbs, and believes in an organic lifestyle for her family in the kitchen and the garden. Her work has appeared in Eating Well, Highlights for Children, Boys’ Life, Chicken Soup for the Soul, What to Expect, Cook n’ Scribble and an America’s Test Kitchen Cook’s Country Cookbook. She is the author of herbinkitchen.com and a regular blogger for KIDS DISCOVER.