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Dorothy Dean presents: I want candy – candied bacon

By Audrey Alfaro For The Spokesman-Review

Where my bacon lovers at? We’re mere days away from a foodie holiday that honors not only bacon, but also the fine people who enjoy and appreciate one of life’s greatest pleasures.

Held annually on Aug. 20, National Bacon Lovers Day is best spent indulging in this crispy, salty and downright irresistible magnificent meat that makes everything better.

From Brussels sprouts and doughnuts to omelets and soup, there’s no denying the deliciousness that bacon brings to the table. This recipe elevates all that goodness by adding sweet to the salty.

Candied bacon is a culinary creation of three simple ingredients that make the most addicting snack ever.

It’s as effortless as spreading thick-sliced bacon with brown sugar and a sprinkle of black pepper before baking it to a crispy, sticky and caramelized golden brown.

Sweet and savory, it’s amazing as is, or it can be added to sandwiches and burgers, served with breakfast (or alongside breakfast in a Bloody Mary) and crumbled on salads, soups and desserts.

Thick- or medium-sliced bacon work best for this recipe, and a variety of spices and ingredients can kick up the heat and flavor.

Try it with a sprinkle of cayenne, red pepper flakes, smoked paprika, cinnamon or chopped pecans, a brush of sriracha, maple syrup or bourbon before coating with the brown sugar.

If you’ve never made bacon in the oven, I highly suggest you try. This foolproof method yields perfectly cooked bacon every time.

Since it’s hands- and splatter-free, you can multitask in the kitchen and don’t have to worry about grease popping on you and creating a mess.

Baked bacon uses the same concept as this recipe, but the oven temperature is higher, at 400 degrees, and the bacon does not have to be flipped.

The foil-lined baking sheet makes for easy cleanup, and the oven-safe rack ensures even cooking, allowing the heat to circulate around the bacon.

Candied Bacon

Adapted from smalltownwoman.com.

1 pound medium- or thick-cut bacon

¾ cup brown sugar

½ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

Preheat an oven to 350 degrees. Cover a large baking sheet with aluminum foil and top it with a wire rack. Arrange the bacon on the wire rack in a single layer. Work in batches if needed.

Sprinkle the bacon strips with about half of the brown sugar and black pepper, using the back of a spoon to spread it evenly. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until lightly browned.

Remove the bacon from the oven, flip them and sprinkle with the remaining brown sugar and black pepper, spreading evenly with the back of the spoon.

Return the bacon to the oven to bake for an additional 10-12 minutes or until the brown sugar is melted and the bacon is golden brown.

Use the tongs to transfer the bacon to parchment paper, where it will crisp up as it cools. Store leftovers in an airtight container or plastic bag in the refrigerator. To reheat, bake at 350 degrees for 5-7 minutes.

Audrey Alfaro can be reached at spoonandswallow@yahoo.com.