Friday, May 20, 2011

Chocolate-Bacon-Peanut Bark

Mmmm. Smell that? It's the scent of bacon mania. Bacon has wound its way into desserts. It is now vogue to match savory bacon with sweet dishes. There are bacon cookies, brownies and cupcakes; bacon cakes, pies and bread pudding; bacon ice cream, milkshakes and truffles; bacon chocolate bars, jellybeans and, yes, bacon baklava.

While some people become giddy at the idea of bacon chocolate chip cookies and maple-bacon cupcakes, others think bacon should stay in its rightful place: on the breakfast table next to scrambled eggs and toast.

If you're in the latter category, consider this: Marrying bacon with sweets such as chocolate, caramel and ice cream is a logical flavor pairing. Combining sweet and salty flavors has always been delicious. Paired sweet and salty flavors are why we love kettle corn, chocolate-covered pretzels and Snickers bars.

If you want to test the waters of bacon desserts, this recipe is for you. It's simple and illustrates the appeal of pairing salty, crunchy bacon with smooth, rich chocolate and earthy peanuts.

Chocolate-Bacon-Peanut Bark
Makes 10 to 12 servings, depending on the size of the pieces

8 strips bacon
16 ounces semisweet chocolate (chunks or chips are fine)
1 cup unsalted peanuts

In a large skillet over medium heat, cook the bacon, turning several times, until browned and done, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Chop finely.

Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

Add chocolate to a double boiler. If you don't have one, fill a pan with a couple of inches of water. Place a glass bowl over the pan, making sure the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water underneath. Once the water begins to boil, add the chocolate chips. Using a spatula, stir continuously, until smooth and creamy.

Stir in the bacon and peanuts. Pour onto the prepared baking sheet and spread to 3/8-inch thickness. Refrigerate for a minimum of 1 hour. The bark should be hard and chilled.
Place bark on a cutting board and cut into pieces — any size or shape you'd like. Serve at about room temperature.

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