Maple Bacon Fat Caramels

date02.12.15

Maple Bacon Fat Caramels

Does your loved one have a thing for bacon? Even if they wouldn’t classify their relationship with bacon as a thing, you should turn it into a thing by making them a batch of homemade maple bacon fat caramels for Valentine’s Day. And maybe a whole slew of these other DIY bacon gifts I made last year. Bring on the bacon!

Bacon Fat CaramelsBacon Fat Caramel Chews

Way back in junior high when a friend and I were chilaxin’ at the mall one day (as you do), I bought a hippo keychain from the candy store and thew it on my backpack – along with the other 20+ keychains dangling from the same hook (obviously). After that purchase, it somehow it became a thing that I collected hippos, and for every gift giving occasion, my friends and family would default to hippo paraphernalia.

Maple Bacon Caramels

Hippo candy, hippo tooth-brush holder, hippo puzzle, and an enormous homemade hippo-shaped cat bed. Don’t get me wrong – I loved it; Hippos are ferocious and badass. When y’all were practicing spelling Mississippi at hyper speed, I mastered Hippopotamus forward and backward (too much free time?). I still have over 300 hippos in a storage box in my childhood closet. (Just you wait – they’re totally going to be worth something on ebay one day. Right there along with my troll collection.).

Maple Bacon Fat Caramel Chews

In just the same hippo way, bacon gifts for my BFF Tyler are becoming a thing. Last year, I made him bacon salt, bacon candy, and bacon jam. This year, I secured my permanent spot in his Myspace Top 8 with freshly baked bacon fat ginger molasses cookies, bacon fat toffee, and a batch of chewy bacon fat caramels. Don’t ask me where I got all that bacon fat.

Chewy Maple Bacon Caramels

I tweaked the recipe last week and made homemade chewy maple bacon fat caramel Valentines for my friends. Also don’t ask me what I did with the pound of bacon I fried up to get enough bacon fat to experiment with these maple bacon fat caramels (#youknowmyhipsdontlie).

Soft Maple Bacon Fat Caramels

Since (super scientific and reliable) studies show 43% of men would choose bacon over sex and 23% rank bacon as their favorite smell, these bacon-infused caramels are sure to win your Valentine over.

Bacon fat adds just a hint of savory that melds with the dark sweetness of the maple syrup in these creamy caramel chews. A special occasion sweet that leaves you feeling a just a tad sinful. Just how a Valentine’s Day dessert should.

Maple Bacon Fat Caramel CandyThanks for reading Snixy Kitchen! To stay up on what’s coming out of my kitchen, follow me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Bloglovin‘, Pinterest, or subscribe via e-mail to get new recipes right to your inbox.

Maple Bacon Fat Caramels
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • ¾ cups heavy whipping cream
  • ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract (I use Rodelle organic vanilla extract)
  • ¾ cups sugar
  • 3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 2½ tablespoons strained bacon fat, melted (Cooking 4 large thick-cut slices of bacon should give you the amount of bacon you need)
  • ¼ teaspoon fleur de sel, plus more for sprinkling
  • Butter, for the baking dish
Instructions
  1. Read all the directions before getting started. Stuff happens so fast and you want to make sure you're prepared for what's coming next. The times in this recipe are estimates and will depend on the size of pot you're using, so use the temperatures as your guide. Also, make sure that you have an accurate candy thermometer - 5 degrees off will drastically change the texture of your caramels from soft and chewy to more like sugar daddies. Here's a handy article on how to calibrate your candy thermometer.
  2. Butter an 8x4-inch baking dish and line the bottom and edges with parchment paper, cutting slits in the corners so it will lay flat. Butter the parchment paper, as well. (I used a glass bread dish for one batch and another smaller baking dish for a second batch. If you only have an 8x8 pan, double the recipe.)
  3. In a small saucepan, heat the heavy whipping cream and vanilla over medium heat, stirring, until it just begins to simmer. Reduce the heat to low to keep it warm while you prepare the rest, stirring occasionally.
  4. Gently mix the sugar, maple syrup, and water in a small sauce pan until the sugar is evenly distributed. Heat it over medium heat, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon until the sugar dissolves and it starts to boil, about 4 minutes. (I recommend between a 1.5-quart and 2.5-quart saucepan; any larger and you'll have a hard time using the candy thermometer as it won't full submerge in the caramel).
  5. Stop stirring and clip a candy thermometer to the edge of the pot. Let the sugar boil without stirring at all, until it becomes amber colored and reaches approximately 285-290°F, about 3-5 minutes. While it boils, grab a clean wooden spoon or rinse and dry the one you were stirring with before.
  6. Add the bacon fat and kosher salt, and slowly stir in the warm whipping cream. Be careful, as it will react and sizzle quite a bit when you start adding the cream. The temperature will also drop when you add the cream.
  7. Keeping a close eye on the thermometer, continue stirring until the temperature is back up to 248°F. Immediately remove the pan from the heat and pour the hot caramel into the prepared pan. DO NOT scrape the pot or you'll end up with crispy bits in your caramels.
  8. Sprinkle the fleur de sel on top and set the pan on a wire rack to cool until fully set, at least 5 hours (Do not try to flash set them in the fridge or the texture will only hold up for a day or two).
  9. Use the parchment paper to pull the caramel sheet out of the pan and place it on a pastry board or cutting board. Peel the parchment paper down from the edges. With a large sharp knife, cut the caramels into bite-sized squares (I cut 13 rows of 4) and wrap them tightly in wax paper or parchment paper squares. The caramels will keep wrapped for up to one month.
Notes
*If you don't have a candy thermometer, cook the sugar based on the color. A minute or two after you add the bacon fat and cream, test the caramels by dropping a bit in a glass of ice water to see if it sets into a chewy caramel.

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54 Comments

  1. Jenna says:

    You had me at bacon fat! I must try these. :)

  2. These sound amazing, Sarah! I am always at a loss at what to get hubby for V-day, the man has everything. I bet he would completely swoon over these caramels. Not to mention we would have leftover bacon for days. Extra brownie points for the wife, yay!

  3. GET OUT OF TOWN!!!

    And then ship me these. PLEASE!!!!!

  4. Sheri says:

    These look amazing! Is Tyler getting some of these this year?

  5. Oh Yah Sarah. . .bring of the bacon.

    It’s a nice change to see a non-chocaltey desert pop up on the blogs with “V” day looming in the wings. Besides. ..what man doesn’t love bacon? I know my hubby would take a box of these bacony caramels over chocolate any day.

  6. So you’re saying all I need to do is buy you a Hippo cat bed to get on your Myspace Top 8? Done and done. PS Why aren’t these wrapped in bacon? Sounds like a sex contender to me.

    • Point of clarification. You need to MAKE me a hippo cat bed. Tip: the pattern will be found under “gigantic floppy homemade stuffed animals” at JoAnn’s, but don’t worry, the cats will know it’s for them.

  7. This is TOO GOOD Sarah! I just love salty and sweet, and this is pretty much the ultimate candy I can think of. And I totally had about 50 huge keychains on my keys when I was in high school too. And a lanyard so I could wear the whole thing around my neck. So 2003 : )

  8. Are these the ones you sent me a few months ago??? Those were SO GOOOOOOODDD

  9. Sarah, oh my gawd, my jaw is on the ground. Maple bacon fat caramels? Swoon! love it!! and I had to click on that link because I can’t believe that 43% of men would choose bacon over sex . . so it’s correction: 43% of Canadian men would choose bacon over sex . . I know guys that love bacon but come on. . :P

  10. I’ve been staring at this comment box for over 30 seconds not knowing what to write. I’m literally speechless. These are beyond freaking amazing! Pinning, tweeting, and begging Asheley to make me these for Vday!

  11. Nancy says:

    Hippos are cute! I have still kept a few troll dolls (those super miniature ones).

    I am a huge fan of bacon. In fact, I don’t like anyone’s bacon making but my Father’s. Every time I go back home to visit my parents he makes me SIX SLICES of it for breakfast. Preferably every day.

    • So funny how everyone like their bacon cooked to different crispiness, right? I’m also super particular about the brands of bacon I get too – some are definitely NOT as good as the others.

  12. You just blew my mind with these caramels, yum!!

    You’ll laugh but, I have a little hippo made of Mt. St. Helens ash on my nightstand. It was my grandmother’s (she collected hippos) and I love that little guy – I named him Howard. I know, **weirdo**. :)

  13. Min says:

    Puhahahaha..Seriously, Sarah…you need to move back to Texas! I can always ALWAYS count on you to make me laugh. I actually have a hippo toothbrush holder right now! I don’t know how it ended up in my bathroom as hippo is def not my thing. I don’t know if it’s bc I was born in the year of the pig (as well as my mom!) but pigs I LOVE…Kinda funny since we’re talking about bacon here. You’ve got some mad skills, my friend! I wish I was there when you were frying them up! My nonexistent Asian hips def need some of that.

  14. I never let a drop of bacon fat go to waste but I’ve never thought of putting it in caramel! This is genius!

  15. Your photos are AWESOME, Sarah. I love all these action shots, and OMG!!! I love this bacon candy SO MUCH :)

    My hubby will be so happy I make it for him on V day :)

  16. I feel like I just went through a time machine. A gazillion keychains on your backpack, troll collection and myspace top 8? Haha, we’re such kindred spirits.
    Also, fyi- I would eat all the maple bacon fat caramels in sight.

  17. Hippos? How strange, but very funny. Love the commentary you tack on to these amazing photos and another great recipe! :) Happy Friday, Sarah!

  18. Four greatest words ever in a blog post title!!!!!!

  19. Sarah says:

    Made these this morning I’m currently waiting on them to set. It’s absolute torture since I basically licked the paint off the pan I was using. So good! My husband and I approve so does my toddler. Happy Valentines and thank you for this wonderful recipe. Guaranteed to be using this one again

  20. Hahaha hippos are totally badass and so were boatloads of keychains on backpacks! Nothing tops these caramels though! They’re genius!

  21. Girl, I don’t care what anyone else says. These were the BEST caramels I’ve ever had!! Awesome bacon flavor, perfectly soft and chewy, and seriously addictive. All that coming from a “healthy” baking blogger, yes! ;) And you:hippos::me:penguins. 100% truth. Penguin EVERYTHING, even clothes and kitchen timers. Fun times!

  22. Vy says:

    These look so delicious! Time to good my candy thermometer to good use! Thanks for the recipe.

  23. Ok, ok, ok. I totally want these. I don’t even know how I FEEL about bacon fat and I still want them. Glad that’s settled.

  24. Oh my Sarah…. SO decadent! My family would freak freak for these caramels.
    How did everything go with the chestnut flour?
    xoxo
    E

    • Thank you so much Erin! I meant to e-mail you. Thank you SO MUCH for your recommendations! I found it at The Pasta Shop after searching every single place in town (no luck at Monterey Market). I picked up an armful of bags so I wouldn’t run out and then a couple days later I found it at the Andronico’s on Solano too. Go figure. The chestnut flour pasta was my favorite gluten-free pasta to date.

  25. So I came here for the sushi post, and you got me all distracted by these caramels. I’m such a fan of salty/savory elements on my sweets, and you go and do the ultimate – BACON with CARAMEL. Swoon.

  26. Allyssa says:

    Yummmmmmm

    Could I use a dairy free alternative for the heavy cream? Maybe full fat coconut milk? I want to eat these so very badly, but I’m allergic to dairy :(

    • While I’ve never tried it so I can guaranteed the results, I’ve seen quite a few recipes online that suggest you can substitute the heavy cream for coconut cream (the layer at the top of canned coconut milk after it’s been sitting upright for a couple of days). If you try it, please let me know how it turns out so I can let others know! Good luck!

      • Allyssa says:

        I decided to make it because I already had a can of coconut milk in the fridge. I used the top layer only, and after I let it sit at room temp for a few hours it seemed like it separated. I think I may have not let it cook long enough, I was using a candy thermometer though, so i dunno.

        The next day I melted it down and made caramel corn which turned out really good.

        • Thanks so much for coming back to let us know! I’ll have to do some more experiments to figure out the science of making coconut cream caramels. I’ll add that to my to-do list! I’m so glad you were able to salvage it to make caramel corn (OMG that sounds SO good!).

          • Allyssa says:

            I happen to have some bacon fat sitting in the fridge and I’ve decided Im gonna try to make these again today with a different brand of coconut milk… And Ill recalibrate my candy thermometer just to be sure…. I sure hope they turn out as awesome as yours look :)

            Did yours turn out to be the really chewy, stick to your teeth kind? Cause that’s the kind I want… Haha.
            If I just cook it to a higher temp for a little longer, is that what will happen?

        • Mine did turn out chewy and stick to your teeth-worthy, but I’ve still never tried it with coconut milk. They key is to cook it to 248°F to get the chewy caramel set. Coconut milk, when mixed has a high fat content, so perhaps if you used the mixed can of coconut milk (v. just the top), you’ll have better results? I’ve been meaning to try this, so thanks for the reminder! Let me know how this second batch turns out! xo!

  27. John says:

    What are the units for the “3/4 heavy whipping cream”? I’m assuming cups, but I just want to be sure before I waste good bacon fat!

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