People love bacon. Even non-meat eaters love bacon, hello tofu bacon. I like the real thing. Bacon has such a following that you see bacon everywhere and people are using bacon for some mad-scientist creations: maple bacon donuts, maple bacon cupcakes, bacon chocolate bars, bacon ice cream, even bacon flavored vodka. I think I even remember seeing bacon-scented perfume? Some of the bacon creations don't appeal to me very much, but I do happen to love the maple bacon donuts. Rebel Donuts here in Albuquerque have an excellent version and oftentimes they're so fresh that they are still warm! (Rebel Donuts also serves a chicken and waffle donut that I've been waiting to try!)
Sometimes you get an idea that you think is absolutely genius. This is my mad-scientist creation with bacon: bacon pralines.
If you like the maple bacon, sweet and salty flavors, then I am sure you will love these bacon pralines. I haven't seen any bacon pralines or bacon praline recipes floating around, so I thought that I would try my hand and them!
These pralines are not the soft, caramel kind that you find in some parts of Texas. These are the Louisiana version that are more like fudge (but not really because it's a little harder than fudge but they're not hard by any means) and taste more like brown sugar and butter. Pralines are one of the things on my long list of favorite desserts. :-)
I made my bacon in the oven, but if you prefer to make them on the stove, you can certainly do that as well. Just make sure that your bacon is cooked until it's crispy as you don't want any rubbery and fatty pieces in your pralines. Another thing I learned is to not cook your pralines at too high of a temperature, which is why you see some tiny white specks in mine.
I can foresee some adaptations of this recipe already-- cupcakes, ice cream sundaes, etc. which I'm sure will make an appearance some time in the future.
A T&H original recipe
1/2 lb. bacon
3/4 c. dark brown sugar
1/4 c. heavy cream
3 Tbs. unsalted butter
3/4 c. powdered sugar, sifted
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 c. chopped pecans
Cook bacon until crispy, then roughly chop when bacon is cooled. (I baked my bacon on a foil lined baking sheet at 400 degrees until it started to turn a golden brown.)
Place a large sheet of parchment paper on a baking sheet.
In a medium saucepan, place dark brown sugar, heavy cream, and butter and heat over medium heat until the butter is melted, stirring constantly. Once the butter is melted, bring to a boil. Boil for exactly one minute, without stirring. (If you boil at too high of a heat, you'll get white spots in your pralines like I did with mine so don't use too high of a heat.)
Take the saucepan off the heat and add both the powdered sugar and the vanilla. Stir quickly, until the powdered sugar has melted into the mixture. Add in pecans and chopped bacon and stir until combined.
Spoon praline mixture onto the parchment paper. I used a couple of tablespoons for each, but you can make these as small or as large as you'd like. Work quickly because the pralines set up fast!
Makes about a dozen pralines, depending on size.
Note: If you want to make regular pralines without the bacon, omit the bacon and add an additional 1/2 c. of chopped pecans.