Firstly, I’ll give credit where credit’s due, and in this case, inspiration came in the form of an IM conversation with a buddy who lamented the fact that he was working remotely while his coworkers in the office were treated to bacon-nut brownies. Sweet Lord, why haven’t I had both bacon and brownie goodness in my mouth . . . in fact, why wasn’t there bacon and brownie in my mouth right this second? At that point, it was impossible for me NOT to make brownies with bacon in them, I’m only human. My hands were tied. As coincidence would have it, that very night I watched an episode of one of my favorite cooking shows, Good Eats, dealing with chocolate, in which the host, Alton Brown, divulged his brownie recipe. The pieces were falling into place.
Alton’s brownie recipe isn’t really too different from most other brownie recipes, quite honestly. The place where the recipe diverges from most is in the integration (or “mixing”) of the ingredients to form the batter. And then, of course, I took it a step futher and piled in some bacon. Mmmmmmm, bacon. So let’s get down to business…
- 4-8 strips of bacon, cooked to your desired doneness
- 4 large eggs
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 2 sticks (8 oz.) butter, melted
- 1¼ cup natural cocoa powder
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- ½ cup flour
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
First, I fried up my bacon and then drained it on a paper towel to remove as much grease as I could. After it had cooled enough to touch, I chopped it into small bits. I shall call them Baco-Bits. Wait what? There’s something already called that? Fine.
Preheat the over to 300-325 degrees – I chose 300 as I like chewy brownies. Next, we want to sift all of the dry ingedients: sugar, brown sugar, flour, salt, and cocoa – together into one large pile of incorporated dry ingredients. Sifting brown sugar, however, is not the easiest task in the world, but it is possible. In the episode of Good Eats, Alton put all of the ingredients into his sifter at once and then there was a jump-cut to after everything had been sifted together. Clearly, there was not enough time to show the forearm-shattering 15 minute process of squeezing that sifter handle constantly until everything was through.
Next, crack the eggs into a large mixing bowl or your stand mixer bowl, and begin to beat the eggs on medium speed until they’re a nice light yellow color and beginning to look a little fluffy. Not too much, though. Then turn your mixer to it’s lowest speed and slowly start incorporating the sifted pile of dry ingredients. After they’re all gone, toss in the vanilla extract, and then – and this is important – slowly add the melted butter. You should now have a nice gooey (extremely delicious) brownie batter. Stop mixing, and using a spatula, fold in the Baco- . . . ahem, bacon pieces, and if you like, save some to sprinke over the top.
At this point, it is important to not eat a quarter of the batter with a large spoon.
You could just pour the batter into a greased and floured 8″ square baking pan and toss that puppy into the oven for 45 minutes, but, as is often the case with the show Good Eats, there are many neat ways to do things just a little better. First, spray your 8″ square baking pan with cooking spray, then cut a piece of parchment paper to about 8″ by 16″ to fit inside the pan with the 2 ends extending out from the sides, in essence making a “sling” of sorts for the brownies. The cooking spray will make the parchment paper stick to the bottom and sides of the pan. Now you can pour the batter into the pan, smoothing the top with a spatula, and if you saved some bacon, go head and sprinkle it on the top of the batter. Bake for 45 minutes or so until a toothpick inserted in the center of the brownies comes out clean-ish.
When the brownies are done baking, let them cool for a minute or two, just to set up a little, then, using your parchment sling, lift the brownies out and onto a cooling rack for another 7 minutes or so. You want to cut the brownies before they cool entirely so that they don’t crack, and drawing from yet enother Good Eats tip, I used a pizza cutter.
I’m not going to lie, these are really really good brownies. The whole bacon and chocolate thing has become sort of popular lately – bordering on trendy, but with really good reason. I shall never make brownies from a box again, nor should you.