But this is no ordinary weekday because today…
I BOUGHT MYSELF A 27 INCH IMAC! I just needed to get that out of my system.
And now that that’s out…
Bacon ice cream. Mmm. I figure this is one of those hit or miss ice creams. But everyone loves bacon and haven’t you ever had bacon with maple syrup? So doesn’t that defeat your “but ice cream is sweet and bacon is salty!” argument (assuming you were to make that point)? Anyway, if you haven’t had this sweet and salty combination you have to try it. It’s like having bacon wrapped dates. I’ll admit, I was skeptical at first, but after I had my first bite, I just couldn’t get enough.
Bacon ice cream is sort of the same way. You only get a slight tinge of the saltiness because the strips are coated in a generous layer of brown sugar before being crisped in an oven. The result is candied bacon, something that I could nibble on for hours on end. I found that while it’s great to have the bacon incorporated into the ice cream so that each scoop is filled with the bits, it’s better to save the candied bacon for a heaping topping. Heck, why not do both? Just double the amount of bacon this recipe calls for…
Candied bacon ice cream
For the candied bacon:
5 strips bacon
about 2 teaspoons light brown sugar
For the ice cream custard:
3 tablespoons (45g)
salted butter ¾ cup
(packed) brown sugar (170g), light or dark (you can use either)
2 ¾ (675ml) cup half-and-half
5 large egg yolks
2 teaspoons dark rum or whiskey
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
To candy the bacon, preheat the oven to 400F (200C). Lay the strips of bacon on a baking sheet lined aluminum foil, shiny side down. Sprinkle 1½-2 teaspoons of brown sugar evenly over each strip of bacon, depending on length. Bake for 12-16 minutes. Midway during baking, flip the bacon strips over and drag them through the dark, syrupy liquid that’s collected on the baking sheet. Continue to bake until as dark as mahogany. Remove from oven and cool the strips on a wire rack. Once crisp and cool, chop into little pieces, about the size of grains of rice. Bacon bits can be stored in an airtight container and chilled for a day or so, or stored in the freezer a few weeks ahead.
To make the ice cream custard, melt the butter in a heavy, medium-size saucepan. Stir in the brown sugar and half of the half-and-half. Pour the remaining half-and-half into a bowl set in an ice bath and set a mesh strainer over the top. In a separate bowl, stir together the egg yolks, then gradually add some of the warm brown sugar mixture to them, whisking the yolks constantly as you pour. Pour the mixture back into the saucepan. Cook over low to moderate heat, constantly stirring and scraping the bottom with a heatproof spatula, until the custard thickens enough to coat the spatula. Strain the custard into the half-and-half, stirring over the ice bath, until cool. Add liquor, vanilla and cinnamon, if using. Refrigerate the mixture. Once thoroughly chilled, freeze in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Add the bacon bits during the last moment of churning, or stir them in when you remove the ice cream from the machine.