Salted Caramel Bacon Blondies

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Finals week suck. If you’re an undergrad somewhere out there, you get it. Its a week where people have an excuse to eat all the junk food they want, not shower for a few days, and show up to the library in sweats. To be completely honest, I personally avoid the library on our campus not because of how packed it is (which it is) but because of how bad it smells.

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But then, finals end – people rejoice,  the sky is blue again, and the air is, once again, breathable. I have a horrible finals week. Absolutely horrible. I’m seriously going to hate every second of it. So of course, I in the middle of this chaos I had to run home and bake something new. It helped that my friend entertained me on the guitar while this happened…

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Blondies aren’t a new concept here at boomie’s kitchen. I’ve done with with salted caramel, and I’ve done one with peanut butter. But these blondies are different. The salted caramel makes the blondies chewy but the batter used is moist, dense, and tender. The bacon adds another dimension to the flavor profile by enhancing the sweet and salty profile with savory and smokey notes.

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The recipe is simple. The most time consuming portion was frying the bacon and the most difficult part was making the salted caramel sauce. I saved some time by frying the bacon in one pan and starting the salted caramel next to it. Of course, you can leave the bacon out and this recipe will work just fine (I’ve done it before!). You can probably also use store bought salted caramel sauce but challenge yourself to make some caramel, its fun and rewarding, I promise!

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These bars look especially pretty with the lattice like topping. This is done by dropping spoonfuls of dough all over the batter. When you’re doing this don’t be too precise and don’t worry if it seems like theres not enough batter – it’ll work out! To serve, I recommend waiting until they completely cool or the caramel won’t have set yet which will lead to the top layer to move around when you cut it. I used a chef’s knife with a light spritz of pam to help me cut them and I was able to get perfect edges.

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Salted Caramel Bacon Blondies

Adapted from: Butter Baking

Ingredients

  • 2 sticks of unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 6 strips of bacon
  • 1 recipe of Salted Caramel Sauce

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. In a frying pan, fry bacon until crisp, allow to drain on a plate.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the beater blade, add the unsalted butter and brown sugar. Cream on medium until light and creamy.
  4. Beat in eggs, one at a time, until incorporated.
  5. Add salt and flour to the bowl and mix until just combined. Remove about 1/3 of the batter into a separate bowl. Crumble all but 1 slice of the bacon into the dough and mix until incorporated. Don’t over mix or the bars will be tough.
  6. Spread the batter with bacon into a greased 13 by 9 inch baking dish evenly. Pour the salted caramel sauce over the batter. Drop spoonfuls of batter on top of the salted caramel.
  7. Bake for 25 minutes or until just golden brown. Crumble remaining slice of bacon before the caramel sets. Wait until completely cooled to slice.

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Ciabatta Stuffing with Chestnuts and Bacon

It’s hard to get everyone on the same page on Thanksgiving. I mean… for some people its hard enough trying to prevent the room from blowing off.

Imagine 15 people sitting around a dinner table, expecting a delicious meal put together by 1 person, each nit-picky and not accustomed to Western flavor profile. That is my family.

What I love about stuffing, and specifically this stuffing, is that there is a little bit of something for everyone at the table. My uncle loves the chestnuts, my aunt loves the vegetables, the older sibling you never really wanted (yes, I’m talking about you Peter) can’t stop picking at the bacon – this is my “one dish” that everyone loves, that is always requested.

I started the recipe by removed the extra used in the dish and relied on bacon grease. Because pancetta was difficult to find, I sautéed the vegetables in the bacon grease. From that point forward, it’s just a matter of combining all the remaining ingredients until well combined and forming a delicious bowl of stuffing.

I’m often asked why I don’t stuff my turkey instead of serving it on the side. To be quite honest, it started because my aunt was usually in charge of the turkey and I the remaining dishes. After carefully studying Alton Brown’s Thanksgiving menu, I’ve come to learn that the tasty turkey juices that seep into the thanksgiving stuffing can also seep into your stomach and make you vomit.

Although I emphasize that 161 F is indeed a safe temperature for roasting a turkey, in order for the stuffing to reach the 161, the remaining turkey has to reach high temperatures that would dry the breast and legs out – not good eats. On the other hand, while a meat thermometer might register the meat as cooked, the stuffing may be under the Alton Brown recommended 161 and filled with salmonella juices.

Another note that I have is the fact that this is indeed technically called “dressing” instead of stuffing. But lets be real, with a family that has an heavy asian influence like mine, calling this dressing might actually convince them that I’m serving bread, chestnuts, and bacon with a bowl full of ranch.

Ciabatta Stuffing with Chestnuts and Bacon

Adapted from Foodnetwork.com

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces bacon, cut into1 inch pieces
  • 2 large onions, finely chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled and finely chopped
  • celery stalks, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary leaves
  • garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 (7.4-ounce) jars roasted peeled whole chestnuts, coarsely broken
  • 1 pound day-old ciabatta bread, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
  • 2/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan
  • 1 cup (or more) canned low-salt chicken broth
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 large eggs, beaten to blend

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 13 by 9 dish with pam.
  2. Gently fry bacon until golden brown. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the pancetta to a large bowl. Add the onions, carrots, celery, rosemary, and garlic. Saute until the onions are very tender, about 12 minutes. Gently stir in the chestnuts. Transfer the onion mixture to the large bowl with the bacon. Add the bread and Parmesan and toss to coat.
  3. Add enough broth to the mixture to moisten. Season the stuffing, to taste, with salt and pepper. Mix in the eggs.
  4. Transfer the stuffing to the prepared dish. Cover with foil sprayed with pan, and bake until the stuffing is heated through, about 30 minutes. Uncover and continue baking until the top is crisp and golden, about 15 minutes longer.