Yeah, that’s right: Bacon S’mores. Chocolate-covered candied bacon smothered in marshmallow in a graham cracker crust.
I can’t take credit for this idea, and actually I’m not sure I would want to. A friend tweeted about The Complete Sale of Selma Lee posting about Chewbacca Bars, which they also call Chunky Chewies. I immediately started telling my friends about them, calling them bacon s’mores, until someone pointed out the lack of graham. So of course, I added graham! Below is my own recipe, which is extraordinarily similar to others’ recipes, except where I made some changes.
Start with one pound of thick-cut, peppered bacon. Cut the uncooked slices into quarters or even sixths, and marinate the pieces for a few hours (in the fridge!) in equal parts balsamic vinegar and maple syrup (the real stuff, none of that Mrs Jemima gunk.) Coat with brown sugar and more pepper, and bake on a wire rack on a LINED baking sheet at 350F until delicious. I didn’t time it. If you are someone who can leave baking bacon well enough alone, good for you. I stuck my head in there to smell it every, oh, ten seconds, so it took a while to bake but it was easy to tell when it was done.
And here is what happens if you don’t line your baking sheet with tinfoil.
SERIOUSLY, I have been soaking and scrubbing my baking sheet since Sunday and it hasn’t come clean yet. Don’t say I didn’t warn you to line it.
When the bacon is done, remove it from the oven and move it to a plate to cool. Melt about 2 1/2 cups chocolate – I used dark, but it’s up to you – in a double boiler, and when the bacon is sufficiently cool, dump it in and fold it in to coat. Really coat it. No wimpy half-coated pieces here. Place a greased wire rack on a large amount of newspaper in an area of your kitchen that you don’t much need to make other things, and dump the chocolate-covered bacon onto it to set. Let it set. Stop eating it, just let it set.
Meanwhile, take 2 of the 3 packets of graham crackers that come in a normal sized box, and make really fine crumbs out of them. I did this using freezer bags and a rolling pin and beating them into submission. You can also use a food processor, but the rolling pin method is actually quite fun! Place 1/2 of the crumbs into a glass 9×11″ baking dish, and set the other half aside.
Now, you make marshmallow. Yes, you make it from scratch, because homemade marshmallow is god’s gift to the world and about 427times better than store-bought. Really. I used Joy of Baking’s recipe and I used it verbatim*, because everyone warned me it was really gooey and kind of difficult. It is really gooey, but it actually cleans up pretty easily with just water, and it is not that difficult.
1 cup cold water
3/4 oz unflavored gelatin (usually comes in 1/4oz packets, 4 packets in a box)
2 cups white sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1/4 tspn salt (I use popcorn salt)
2 tspn vanilla extract
Put 1/2 cup cold water into a large, clean metal bowl. Sprinkle the gelatin over the water and let stand until gelatin softens, about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, place the sugar, corn syrup, salt, and remaining 1/2 cup cold water into a saucepan. Cook, stirring, over medium heat until sugar dissolves and the mixture comes to a boil. Attach a candy thermometer to the side of the pan and boil on high heat until the syrup reaches 240F, about 10 minutes. With mixer running (it helps to have about three hands at this point) pour the hot syrup into the water-gelatin bowl. Add the vanilla. Gradually increase the speed of your mixer to high and beat the mixture until it turns into marshmallow cream. Try not to cut off your fingers with the mixer when you are sticking them into the bowl to taste it. Be prepared to stand there for awhile – the recipe says 10 min, but mine took 15 min or more. It will grow, so be sure to use a big bowl. It will also taste really good, like even better than you are expecting, so don’t eat it all with your fingers (if they’re still attached.)
NOW – chop the chocolate covered bacon into bite-sized pieces and set aside. Pour 1/2 of the marshmallow cream into your crumb-prepared baking dish, and put the chocolate-covered bacon on top. Add the remaining marshmallow and sprinkle the other half of the graham crumbs on top. Allow to set for a few hours – I gave it four hours but sped it up a bit in the fridge, and it was fine.
… and it will be divisive. My sister says chocolate-covered bacon is the most disgusting thing she can think of; fair-goers across America think it’s a wonderful treat. Everyone who tried a piece liked it, but only one went back for seconds. I thought it was good. I think most things made with bacon and most things made with marshmallow are good. Chocolate doesn’t hurt.
Will you like bacon s’mores? Only one way to find out!
*verbatim? OK, so not really. I don’t really do verbatim. But I came pretty close this time… I doubled the recipe because I needed extra to make s’mores cakes for the vegetarians and the Muslim (blog post to come) and I also used a hand mixer instead of the recommended stand mixer, because I don’t own a stand mixer. But otherwise: totally verbatim.