Every home baker has a recipe (or several) that they are scared of. Some people are terrified of pie crusts. Some freak out at the thought of messing with yeast packets and trying to get bread to rise. The word “soufflé” is actually French for “terror-inducing” (okay, not really), but it should be, as the thought of a soufflé strikes fear in the hearts and minds of many a home baker. It actually means to “blow up” or “puff up,” which is what the home cook does after the soufflé falls or, worse yet, never even rises…
Home-made caramels *used* to scare me, but I decided it was time to conquer that fear. I’m happy to report that this fear (unlike the fear of soufflé) was utterly unfounded, and that caramels are incredibly easy to make. All you’ll need to make these amazing maple bacon caramels from “Not Without Salt” is 7 ingredients and a cooking thermometer. One batch of maple bacon caramels will feed a lot of people. These caramels are so rich, that 1 or 2 (okay, maybe 3) will satisfy a person. And other than watching the temperature carefully, a lot of the prep time is hands-off as you wait for the caramels to cool. This recipe will be a standout at your next dinner party or potluck.
I contemplated subbing bacon grease for some of the butter, but didn’t know how it would affect how the caramels cook, or their color. My second attempt will involve more experimentation. The size of the pan that you use will determine how thick your caramels will be. I used a 9 x 13 pan and the size of each caramel was perfect, not too thick, not too thin.
These would also be great as a gift. Cut the caramels into strips, wrap in parchment paper, stack several up and tie together with a string.
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1 cup corn syrup
1/2 cup butter
1 cup heavy cream, divided
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 lb. of cooked, chopped bacon
1. Reserve 1/2 cup of the heavy cream. Combine all the other ingredients in a medium sauce pan. Stir to combine.
2. Set on medium high heat. Stir occasionally and cook until 240 F. The candy is now at firm-ball stage.
3. Remove from the stove and carefully stir in the remaining 1/2 cup of cream. Place back on the heat and continue to cook to 245 F.
4. Immediately remove from heat and stir in a portion of the crispy bacon. Pour the caramel into a buttered dish or pan.
5. Scatter the remaining bacon on top. Let set for at least 3 hours before cutting. Enjoy!