Bacon and Chocolate

(Bacon brownies)

Despite all signs to the contrary, I’d like to think I eat in a fairly balanced manner. Cake days get offset by salad days. Always featured at the dinner table are a good dose of vegetables, to counteract my sixth essential food group : ice-cream. However, I was left wondering today if there was anything that could possibly balance bacon in a brownie.

That’s when I decided that there are some things in life you just have to accept as being essential experiences. In other words, give in to the fun. I’m speaking of fish and chips wrapped in newspaper, eaten on the beach. Blowing bubbles into a chocolate milkshake, even though your mom has told you to stop playing with your food for-the-tenth-time. Eating a butter-fried croque madame without cutlery. Putting your ear to a bowl of rice bubbles containing freshly poured milk.

To that list, I’m adding bacon brownies. Eat bacon brownies in the comfort of your own home. With your feet tucked under a blanket. Eat it and marvel at how well the combination works. Savour the rich, moist, dark chocolate and the crispy, salty bacon. Forget those words that fill the mind with doubt and catch in the throat like a solitary dry rice cake. Words like chol-es-ter-ol, and once-on-your-lips-forever-on-your-hips.

Think instead : At least my feet won’t look fat in this. My handbag is still going to fit. Now I can finally get the most value out of my gym membership. Here’s something I won’t feel guilty about not sharing with my vegetarian friends.

If you’re not a fan of bacon, you should still make this anyway, sans bacon. It is a superlative brownie, and according to the authors of Baked, this brownie has not only been featured in O magazine, but has also been awarded “best brownie” by America’s Test Kitchen and the Today show.

The Baked Brownie :
(yields 24 brownies; recipe from Baked by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito)

1 1/4 cups plain flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons dark unsweetened cocoa powder
311g dark chocolate (60 – 72% cacao), coarsely chopped [I used Lindt 70%]
226g unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
1 1/2 cups caster sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
5 large eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 176’C. Butter the sides and bottom of a 9-by-13-inch glass or light-colored metal baking pan.

In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, salt and cocoa powder together.

Put the chocolate, butter, and instant espresso powder in a large bowl and set it over a saucepan of simmering water, stirring occasionally, until the chocolate and butter are completely melted and smooth. Turn off the heat, but keep the bowl over the water and add the sugars. Whisk until completely combined, then remove the bowl from the pan. The mixture should be room temperature.

Add 3 eggs to the chocolate mixture and whisk until combined. Add the remaining eggs and whisk until combined. Add the vanilla and stir until combined. Do not overbeat the batter at this stage or your brownies will be cakey.

Sprinkle the flour mixture over the chocolate mixture. Using a spatula (not a whisk), fold the flour mixture into the chocolate until just a bit of the flour mixture is visible.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake in the center of the oven for 30 mnutes, rotating the pan halfway through the baking time, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the brownies comes out with a few moist crumbs sticking to it. Let the brownies cool completely, then cut them into squares and serve.

Tightly covered with plastic wrap, the brownies keep at room temperature for up to 3 days.

To baconise the Baked Brownie :
Bake 75g thinly sliced proscuitto or bacon in the oven until crispy. Crumble the bacon slices over the top of the brownie batter (or fold it through the mix) before baking. The bacon brownie is best eaten on the day it’s made, if you like your bacon crispy. Otherwise, the bacon will soften a little over the next couple of days, but still be perfectly tasty.

(Of course, the less decadent option would be to bake cookies instead, but honestly, I think the brownies are definitely the way to go.)

(Bacon, cocoa nib and raisin cookies)

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  1. Y said,

    May 27, 2009 @ 2:34 am

    Simon : Hmm.. tough one. Guess it depends on your mood. I’d happily eat a piece of the brownie, sans bacon. Maybe save the bacon for special occasions.

    Wendy : Thank you for your kind words 🙂

    Caitlin : Well, you could.. or you could just ask me if you wanted a recipe from it 🙂 I think it’s worth getting as it’s quite pretty to look at. I’ve made a few things from it, successfully too.

    Christy : I would’ve suggested making bak kwa cookies, but that would just be a waste of hard-to-get bak kwa, I think!

    Anita : Yes you did! Not as weird as it sounds, honestly. Makes complete sense once you take a bite too.

    Louise : I’m glad you’re in the bacon corner! I think that after tasting the combination, most detractors would definitely be eating their words.

    Janet : Thanks for the links. I’ve been a bit slow in replying to comments, but I hope to get some time soon to check your the recipes.

    the caked crusader : Bacon and brussel sprouts.. Sounds like a match made in cake heaven.

    Julia @ Mélanger : The bacon and egg ice-cream is well and truly in a league of it’s own. This one is more home baking.

    Sara : Hope it works out for you. The Baked brownie is great even on it’s own. Definitely worth making.

    Jude : Wow, I can’t imagine what the two combined would taste like. I’ll have to remember that ice-cream when I finally get my own machine.

    Hi Alex G! Thank you for your comment. Glad you like the brownies as much as I do!

  2. The Cookie Monster said,

    June 4, 2009 @ 4:24 am

    If you like that combination, you might also like a peanut butter and bacon sandwich.

  3. shaz said,

    July 7, 2009 @ 12:44 am

    Ha ha..I just read this…I can so see how that would work considering a lot of people eat bacon with maple syrup anyway (or is that just me?). You know… you can do what I do and get daily vegetable serves in cake form…carrot cake, chocolate and beetroot cake etc etc 🙂

  4. 50 Best Cookie Recipes on Internet: Scene 2 : Baking Delights - Baking Tips and Recipes said,

    September 15, 2009 @ 4:34 am

    […] Bacon Brownies […]

  5. Elfguy said,

    October 17, 2010 @ 6:46 am

    On the “on the grill radio show” today, they had a similar recipie, but used bacon grease instead of butter or oil (After all, when you cook the bacon, you have the grease…rather than discard the grease, use it in the brownies. Think of it as recycling!)

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