Sunday, February 28, 2010

Chocolate Cinnamon Rolls

My Venture into Unconventional Cinnamon Rolls

Many of you have read on my blog that I'm not a big chocolate lover. My blog buddy, Valerie, sent me some WONDERFUL chocolate from Belgium for Christmas. Some friends have suggested that, it's not that I don't like chocolate, it's just that I've never had GOOD chocolate. After eating that rich and creamy chocolate from Belgium, they may be right.

Years ago, I had a bad experience that reinforced my negative thoughts about chocolate. My friend Jenifer and I used to be roommates and she had a wonderful dog named Malcolm. I loved that dog! Whenever I was cooking…or cleaning…or sleeping…or going to the bathroom, Malcolm was right by my side. Jenifer was out-of-town for a few days and I had to make a Brooklyn Blackout Cake for a friend's birthday. If you've never made a Brooklyn Blackout Cake before, it's a chocolate cake that is a layered with a chocolate custard and coated on the outside with chocolate cake crumbs. It's absolutely disgusting. Anyway, Malcolm was napping at my feet on the kitchen floor as I was frosting the cake. Until the custard sets up, the layers of this particular kind of cake are very unstable. When I finished the cake, I picked up the cake plate and turned to go to the fridge when, all of the sudden, the top two layers of the cake flew off and landed right on Malcolm's head. You can imagine your reaction if somebody dropped a cake on YOUR head while you were soundly sleeping and dreaming of an all-you-can-eat buffet of snausages, pig ears, and beef bones.

With my mouth gaping wide open, I looked down and there was a huge mound of cake right on top of that poor dog's head . Malcolm jumped up and shook his head – sending chocolate cake and pudding flying everywhere. He then realized that the cake might be edible so he started sniffing some on the floor. Having read that chocolate is dangerous for dogs, I screamed, "NO!!!" I scared that poor thing half to death and he started running away. I took after him in pursuit, cake plate still in hand, screaming, "Don't eat the chocolate! DON'T EAT THE CHOCOLATE!!!" Both Malcolm and I had stepped in the cake on the kitchen floor so we were leaving chocolate footprints EVERYWHERE. Clods of chocolate kept falling off of his head as he was trying to flee the crazy man wielding a cake plate screaming at the top of his lungs. I finally got a hold of him and immediately got him into the tub so I could wash off the chocolate. When I got him spic and span, I put him outside until I could get the house cleaned up. I couldn't decide which smelled worse – the strong smell of the chocolate wafting throughout my house or the lovely odor of wet dog. After putting him outside, I then turned and gazed upon a sea of chocolate everywhere. It looked like Willy Wonka was brutally murdered in my living room.

I was sure that Malcolm didn't have a chance to eat any of the cake but I called the vet anyway and he assured me that we would not need to pump Malcolm's stomach or call the nearest Poison Control Center as I had suggested he do. I then called a carpet-cleaning company and they immediately came to my house. When the cleaning guy arrived and saw all of the mess, the only thing he could say was "What the…what on earth happened in here?!" The only thing I could muster was "There was…an incident." After washing a dog, paying $157 to get my carpets cleaned, and baking TWO Brooklyn Blackout Cakes, everything was as it should be. Can you not see why I hate chocolate?

I may have forgotten to mention this little incident to Jenifer since no harm was done and I didn't want her to worry every time she left me alone with Malcolm. The guilt of not telling her has plagued me for years. If you're reading this Jenifer, sorry!!! I know I should have told you that I almost killed Malkie with chocolate when you were in Chicago that one time! Malcolm is no longer with us but his memory lives on every time I make something with chocolate. I hope he's in doggy heaven right now eating all of the chocolate he wants.

Did you notice in the picture that I put a paltry amount of frosting on the cinnamon rolls? That was to give you all the illusion that I have some degree of restraint. After I took the picture, I really loaded on the cream cheese frosting and ate two of those puppies with my fingers. The chocolate in the center had melted and was all gooey and cinnamony. The rolls were still really warm so the frosting was beginning to thin and was dripping onto the plate. I had chocolate and cream cheese on both sides of my mouth and dripping from my fingers. Heaven. For just one moment, I really liked chocolate. Enjoy – and happy baking!

* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *

Chocolate Cinnamon Rolls
(Printable Version)

1 egg
1/2 c milk
1/4 c sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 c butter (4 TBSP)
1/4 c warm water (110F)
1 .25 oz package active dry yeast
1/3 c cocoa powder
2 1/2 c all-purpose flour

6 TBSP butter, melted
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
1/8 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 c chocolate chips (preferably Ghirardelli 60% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate Chips)
1/2 c finely chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)

4 oz cream cheese, room temperature
2 TBSP butter, room temperature
1/2 lb powdered sugar (roughly 2 cups)
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 TBSP milk
Chocolate shavings from a semi-sweet chocolate bar for garnish

Take the egg out of the refrigerator and crack it into a bowl so that the egg will warm up some before adding it to the dough. Over medium heat in a small sauce pan, scald the milk, sugar, and salt. Remove from the heat and skim off any skin that has developed on the surface. Add the butter and allow the mixture to cool to lukewarm.

While the milk is cooling, combine the warm water and yeast. In a mixing bowl, whisk the cocoa powder and flour together.

Add the lukewarm milk mixture, yeast mixture, and egg to the flour. Use a mixer equipped with a paddle to get the ingredients completely combined then shut off the mixer for 4 minutes. This rest period will allow the liquid to more readily absorbed so you do not end up adding too much flour. After 4 minutes of resting, switch to a dough hook. Mix the dough for about 3 to 4 minutes. This dough will be a little stickier than many kinds of dough that you may have worked with before. For the most part, the dough should not be sticking to the sides of the bowl as it is mixing. If it is really sticking, add a little more flour. If it looks pretty dry, add a teaspoon or so of water.

Spray a bowl with cooking spray. Form the dough into a ball and add it to the sprayed bowl. Spray the top of the dough lightly with cooking spray then cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm place until doubled in size – about 60 to 75 minutes.

Punch down the dough and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Roll the dough out into a 12" x 9" rectangle (with one of the longer sides closest to your tummy). The dough should be very soft and easy to work with.

In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar, white sugar, salt, and cinnamon. Brush the bottom and sides of two 8" cake pans with some of the melted butter.

Brush half of the remaining butter on top of the dough. Make sure to leave a 1" edge on the top and bottom that is completely free of butter, sugar, nuts, and chocolate. Sprinkle the butter with the cinnamon-sugar mixture. Drizzle the remaining butter all over the sugar mixture. Add the chocolate chips on top of the sugar. I use about 1/2 cup or so. You could certain use more or less. If using nuts, sprinkle some on now. Lightly press the chocolate and sugar mixture to make it easier to roll. Lightly brush the 1" strip of dough at the top with a little water so, after you roll up the dough, the seam will seal better. Starting from the side closest to your tummy, carefully roll up the dough – trying to keep as much of the filling inside as possible. You should end up with a log roughly 12" in length. Pinch the lightly moistened seam tightly to seal. Cut the roll into 10 slices.

Place 5 rolls in each pan (4 around the outside and 1 in the center) – leaving as much space as possible between each roll and the sides of the pan. Cover and let rise until doubled – about 45 to 60 minutes. About 15 minutes before the rolls have fully risen, preheat the oven to 350F. When doubled in size, uncover the rolls and bake about 15 minutes.

While the rolls are baking, make the frosting. Using a mixer equipped with a whisk attachment, whisk the cream cheese and butter together. Add the powdered sugar and use the mixer to slowly whisk it in. Add the vanilla and milk. Whisk for about 2 - 3 minutes, scraping the bowl as needed. Too thick for you? Add another 1/2 tablespoon of milk at a time until you have reached the desired consistency.

When the rolls are done, allow them to cool in the pans for 1 to 2 minutes. Remove a roll from one of the pans and place it on a serving plate. Top with some frosting and some shaved chocolate from a chocolate bar. The frosting will start to melt and everything will get gooey and messy. Unapologetically eat the rolls with your fingers. Remember – everything in excess. I mean moderation. Yeah, yeah. Moderation.

1) Regular chocolate chips contain stabilizers that inhibit melting. The Ghirardelli 60% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate Chips melt beautifully and are flat disks which makes them easier to roll up inside the cinnamon rolls. The chocolate flavor is also great. I'm not getting paid to say this either!
2) The amount of liquid in the dough and the rising times are estimates.
3) I do not recommend using a 9x13" dish to bake these in. I don’t think they cook evenly in a larger pan which is why I recommend using 2 eight-inch cake pans instead.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Clone of Taco Bell Baja Sauce

My Venture into Cloning

As I've written before, I really enjoy creating new recipes. I also love the challenge of reproducing the secret recipes of foods from some of America's most popular restaurants. I normally do not share my clone recipes because, invariably, there are people out there who will complain that the food doesn't taste exactly the same as the original or is lacking the same texture. Unless you are a food chemist, you will not have access to the enzymes, acids, emulsifiers, and additives that are commonplace in processed foods. Those additives are put in to give foods their unique flavors or textural profiles that most of us would not be able to reproduce with the ingredients available to us at home. I, personally, have no problem if my clone recipes have a slightly imperfect texture or flavor if I can add more natural ingredients that I can actually pronounce.

When developing a clone recipe, I always try to use most, if not all, of the major ingredients in the original recipe (except for the artificial additives, chemicals, and preservatives, of course). Before I ever step foot in the kitchen, I always research the ingredients in the food I'm trying to reproduce. In this case, I went to Taco Bell's website to get the ingredient list for, what most of us call, Baja Sauce. At Taco Bell, Baja Sauce is actually officially called Pepper Jack Sauce. Yes – Pepper Jack Sauce! If you've ever had a Chalupa or Gordita at Taco Bell, this is the tasty sauce that they drizzle on top. Very yummy. The following is the list of ingredients in their sauce as published on their website:

Sauce, Pepper Jack
Soybean Oil, Buttermilk, Water, Distilled Vinegar, Egg Yolk, Jalapeno Peppers, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Granular Monterey Jack, Parmesan, and Semisoft Cheeses (Milk, Cheese Cultures, Salt, Enzymes), Salt, Buttermilk*, Bell Pepper*, Xanthan Gum, Whey, Mustard Seed, Garlic*, Onion*, Natural Flavor, Potassium Sorbate and Sodium Benzoate Added as Preservatives, Lactic Acid, Citric Acid, Disodium Inosinate, Disodium Guanylate, Spice, Proplene Glycol Alginate, Calcium Disodium EDTA Added To Protect Flavor. *Dehydrated

Note the following:
1) Many of the first ingredients are used in the making of mayonnaise.
2) Monterrey Jack cheese is used as well as bell pepper and jalapenos . It goes without saying that pepper jack cheese is nothing but Monterrey Jack with bell peppers and jalapenos mixed in.
3) If you taste Baja Sauce, you will notice that is fairly acidic/tart with a hint of sweetness. That acidity is reproduced with buttermilk and vinegar (and, to some degree, with lactic and citric acids). I completely agree with Taco Bell in making the sauce acidic. You need an acidic condiment to help break up the heavy flavor of fried or oily foods. That's why ketchup goes great with french fries and why steak sauce has such an acidic kick to it. Acidity is critical here.
4) They use a lot of dehydrated stuff (such as the buttermilk, garlic, onion, etc.).
5) If you tasted the sauce by itself, you'll definitely notice that it has a spicy kick to it. I like that.
6) The sauce is not too thick (like some mayonnaise-based sauces can be). In addition, the sauce is exceedingly smooth with no shreds of cheese in it.

I also found several clones of this sauce on the web. Annoyingly, many of the clones did not contain many of the same major ingredients as the original recipe. Several of the recipes contained sour cream which is not in the original recipe in any way. In addition, those recipes have no cheese in them – in a condiment officially named Pepper Jack Sauce!

Although I try to use the same ingredients as the original when possible, sometimes I have to compromise since I'm not using chemical emulsifiers at home. Since their sauce is so smooth, they have to melt the cheese in some way before mixing the sauce. After a LOT of experimenting, I decided to go with a technique used in making fondue. With fondue, wine ( an acidic liquid) is added to milk or cream and heated to boiling. Cheese, which has been coated in a little cornstarch, is added to the hot liquid off the burner. This makes an exceptionally smooth fondue sauce when finished. To make my clone, I use evaporated milk, vinegar, and dried buttermilk to form the acidic base for the cheese. This acidity assures that the cheese does not get stringy when melted. Early on, I tried using fresh buttermilk but it broke so easily when heated that I gave up using it. I compromised and used dried buttermilk instead. Dried buttermilk has the same flavor profile but provides the stability I needed. I tried making this recipe several times with Miracle Whip and it was just too sweet. It's far sweeter than the original recipe so I opted to use regular mayo instead (I always use light mayo).

After experimenting with this recipe no less than 25 times, I finally got it fairly close to the original. At first, I tried using LOTS of cheese. Cheese tastes good so the more cheese, the better – right? Not in this case. I could not reproduce the same flavors with lots of cheese. I played with the amount of dried buttermilk and vinegar. I added and subtracted jalapeno. I added and subtracted corn syrup. You name it, I played with it to get it just right. Over a period of several months, I regularly went to Taco Bell and ordered a Gordita with baja sauce on the side just so I could have the original sauce for a taste comparison. If you saw my big patootie, you'd exhibit no surprise. Each time, I tasted my sauce and the Taco Bell Baja Sauce side-by-side. It's now as close to the original as I can get. I'm happy with the result. Hopefully, you will be too.

I wish Sonic Drive-in was still selling their Spicy Southwest Burgers or Southwest Breakfast Burritos. They were served with a chipotle sauce that was really good that I'd really like to reproduce. Oh, well! If you would like me to post a clone recipe of one your favorite foods, leave a comment and let me know what you'd like. I can't promise I will make it but I might surprise you someday. Enjoy – and happy saucing!

* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *

Clone of Taco Bell® Baja Sauce

(Printable Version)

1/3 c pepper jack cheese, freshly grated
2 tbsp parmesan cheese, freshly grated very finely
1/2 tsp cornstarch
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp kosher salt (1/8 tsp table salt)
2 tsp corn syrup
1 tsp dijon mustard
1 jalapeno (seeds and ribs removed), finely diced
1 TBSP dry buttermilk (sold in the baking aisle)
1/2 c evaporated milk
4 TBSP vinegar, divided use
1 TBSP drained pimentos
1/16 tsp (just a small pinch) cayenne (optional)
3/4 cup mayonnaise

Combine the cheeses and cornstarch in a small bowl and mix well. Set aside. Sargento® Limited Edition Pepper Jack Cheese (in slices) works exceptionally well in this recipe. If you use that brand, you will need two slices (cut finely) to equal 1/3 cup.

In a small saucepan, whisk together the onion powder, garlic powder, salt, corn syrup, mustard, jalapeno, dry buttermilk, evaporated milk, and only 3 tablespoons of the vinegar. Whisk the mixture until the buttermilk powder has dissolved. Turn on the heat to medium and whisk often while the mixture is heating. Bring the mixture to a good simmer and, VERY IMPORTANTLY, remove the sauce pan completely from the heat and slowly whisk in the cheeses. Briskly whisk for at least 1 minute – making sure the cheeses have completely melted. I cannot stress the importance of not adding the cheeses when the pan is on the burner. If you did, you will cause the proteins in the cheeses to form small gritty balls that will ruin the texture of the finished product.

Add the cheese mixture to a blender with the pimentos. Whiz the mixture until the jalapenos and pimentos are very finely chopped and the mixture is smooth. Scope the mixture into a sealable bowl and allow it to come to room temperature on your kitchen counter.

When the cheese mixture has cooled completely, add the remaining tablespoon of vinegar, the cayenne pepper(if using), and the mayonnaise then stir to combine. Seal and put the mixture in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours to allow the flavors to meld.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Ravioli Italiani

My Venture into Ravioli

Italian food and I go way back. Pizza. Lasagna. Prosciutto. Pasta. Who doesn't love Italian food? I have not eaten an Italian food I didn't like.

Italian foods are always so flavorful. This dish is no exception. The bulk of the flavor comes from the pesto. If you've never made pesto, it's a cinch to make. It's nothing but fresh basil, garlic, pine nuts, lemon juice, extra-virgin olive oil, and a little salt. Pesto is best when it's not overly heated – which can both dull the flavor and color. That's one reason why I always try to make my own. The brands that you can buy in the refrigerated section of your local supermarket are not bad. However, I have never found any pesto that is sold in a jar (near the jars of spaghetti sauce) that is worth eating. The canning process, to me, destroys the fresh taste of the basil which is why I think the refrigerated brands are better.

A few years ago, I got tired of spending a fortune on little containers of fresh basil so I decided to plant my own. I had a huge pot in which I had planted some potatoes the previous year. I live in an apartment with huge, south-facing windows so plants thrive – even during the winter. Since the pot was huge, I figured I could throw in some extra seed. I mean, who has ever had too much basil, right? It took a few months but the plants grew and grew – giving me all of the fresh basil I ever needed. I must have purchased mutant basil seeds because the plants kept growing and growing and growing. It got to the point where I could no longer reach the tops of the plants to cut off the leaves. To use up the basil, I was putting it in EVERYTHING. I froze the extra basil. I froze pesto. I made pesto for my mother. I still could not use enough. The more I trimmed, the thicker it grew back. My apartment was permanently shadowed by that stupid, mutant basil plant that blocked most of the sunlight from that window. Finally, I was so sick of basil that I tossed the plant. After I pitched it, the storm clouds parted. My mood improved. Life was good without the fear of being eaten alive by that evil basil plant.

It took a long time but I started craving basil again. When I had to buy enough basil to make pesto several months ago, I remembered why I planted basil seed in the first place. I thought I was going to have to sell a kidney to be able to afford the basil. Not that I'm bitter.

As you know from previous posts, I have several pet peeves. One of my biggest pet peeves is when I hear somebody say "EYE-talian". It's so annoying. I mean, you wouldn't say EYE-taly, would you? I could hear it now. "Yes, I've been to Venice, EYE-taly and ate EYE-talian food and met some really nice EYE-talians." If I heard somebody say that, my ears would bleed!

Anyway, this recipe is so quick and easy to make. It's perfect even for a weeknight dinner. It's great for your vegetarian friends and family members. If you wanted, you could add some cooked chicken or some extra veggies. I fixed this recently for my mother and sister and asked them if this recipe would be blog-worthy. They loved it and encouraged me to post the recipe. I told my mom that sometimes, I like to make the recipe per the instructions below then add 1/3 of it to a casserole dish and top it with some freshly grated mozzarella and parmesan cheese. I then add 2 additional layers of the ravioli and cheeses and bake it at 425F until the cheeses have fully melted and started to brown. Now THAT'S a very nice EYE-talian treat. Enjoy – and happy ravioling!

* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *

Ravioli Italiani
(Printed Version)

1 TBSP extra-virgin olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
1/4 tsp sugar
1 20-oz package fresh cheese ravioli
7 oz tub refrigerated pesto
2 oz jar chopped pimentos, drained
1 TBSP extra-virgin olive oil
Juice of one lemon
4 cloves garlic, minced
Salt and pepper to taste
Freshly grated parmesan cheese

Chop the onion and garlic. Heat a large skillet over medium heat with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. On another burner over high heat, start heating a large pot with enough water to cook the ravioli.

When the skillet is hot, add the onions, a pinch of salt, and the sugar. Cover and stir periodically while waiting for the water to boil. The goal is to get the onions really soft but not to overly brown them. If the onions start to brown too much, reduce the heat a little and add a little water to the skillet.

When the water comes to a rapid boil, add a good amount of salt to the water. Add the ravioli and stir. Cook the ravioli per the instructions on the package. Don't forget to stir the onions now and then.

While the onions are softening and the ravioli is cooking, add the pesto, pimentos, olive oil, lemon juice, and a little salt and pepper to a medium bowl. Stir to combine.

Two minutes before the pasta is done, add the garlic to the onions and cook 1 minute. Stir to combine (leave uncovered for the remaining cooking time). After one minute, stir in the pesto mixture and stir to combine. Cook for about a minute to warm the pesto mixture.

Use a spider or strainer to remove the ravioli from the water and add it immediately into the skillet with the pesto. It's OK if some water gets in the skillet. In fact, that's a good thing. If desired, add some salt and pepper to the ravioli then gently fold the pesto over the ravioli and immediately take the skillet off the heat. Sprinkle a good amount of parmesan into the ravioli and stir.

Spoon some ravioli onto a serving plate and top with more parmesan. Serve with garlic bread.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Asian Candied Bacon

My Venture into Asian-Inspired Candied Bacon

A very special holiday is coming up. Can you guess which one? I'll give you a hint. The favorite color for this holiday is red. Need another hint? It's celebrated on February 14 by millions of people worldwide. That's right – Chinese New Year! Today's recipe was inspired by a food I ate many years ago during Chinese New year.

Bacon and I go way back. It, more than any other food, is responsible for the cellulite on my thighs, the dimples on my patootie, and one of my man-boobs (the left one). I was a vegetarian for four years and bacon is the ONE meat I always missed. For four long years, I dreamt about bacon at night and drooled about it during the day. When I stopped eating bacon, I sent Wall Street into a panic and pork prices dropped overnight.

Many moons ago, I was walking through the streets of Singapore right before Chinese New Year and I caught the unmistakable whiff of grilled pork fat. Like a sailor lulled to his death on a rocky shore by a Siren's beautiful song, I was drawn to the source of this intoxicating odor. I walked into a very busy shop filled with Chinese women buying hoards of index-card-size pieces of dried meat which had been coated in a sticky glaze and then grilled to tasty perfection. Most of the meat was pork but they also had fish and other proteins that had been prepared in a similar fashion.

I struck up a conversation with a lady in line and asked her what the shop was selling and why it was so popular. She said that the meat was called Bak Kwa (in Hokkien Chinese dialect or Rogan in Mandarin). She explained that it was pork jerky made from minced pork with secret ingredients, then dried in a top-secret way, and finally grilled using a top-secret glaze. Apparently, it's easier to find out how to enrich uranium than get specifics on how to make Bak Kwa. She further added that, when she was a little girl, this delicacy used to only be sold during Chinese New Year but, nowadays, you can get it year-round. I told her that it smelled wonderful but that I was a vegetarian so I couldn't eat any. Upon hearing that I was a vegetarian, she looked at me like I was Satan's gardener or something and insisted I try it. She handed me a piece of Bak Kwa and practically force-fed it to me like she was trying to gavage a goose. OK, that's a little exaggerated. She actually just handed me a piece and said "here, eat this". After one bite, I almost cried. It was THAT good. I've been a carnivore since.

I have tried in vain to make Bak Kwa at home. The recipes I have found on the internet are a poor substitute for the real thing. Since Chinese New Year is just around the corner, I thought I would make a VERY Americanized version of Bak Kwa with bacon. Most of you will probably think of it as Asian-style candied bacon. It's certainly not Bak Kwa but it is REALLY good nevertheless.

Did you know there is another holiday on February 14 that is celebrated by millions of people? That's right – Arizona Statehood Day! Unfortunately, I have never developed any recipes for that. Until I do, I hope you try this Asian-inspired candied bacon. Enjoy – and Gong Xi Fa Cai!

* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *

Asian Candied Bacon
(Printable Version)

1 lb thick-cut, center-cut bacon

1 TBSP regular soy sauce
1 TBSP dark soy sauce (may substitute regular soy sauce)
1 TBSP vegetable oil
1 TBSP water
1 TBSP honey
1/4 tsp liquid smoke
1/2 c plus 2 TBSP firmly packed light brown sugar
1 TBSP rice wine vinegar
1/2 tsp red food coloring
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/8 tsp cayenne (optional)
1/2 tsp sesame oil

Preheat the oven to 350F. Line a sided sheet pan with aluminum foil. Place an oven-safe rack on the sheet pan. Place the bacon in a single layer on the wire rack. You may need to slightly overlap the bacon to get it all to fit on the pan.

While the oven is heating, add all of the glaze ingredients to a medium sauce pan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Once simmering, continue to simmer the glaze for 3 minutes – swirling the pan every minute or so to keep things mixed up. Reduce the heat to low to keep the mixture warm.

As soon as the oven has preheated, place the bacon (unglazed) in the oven and bake for 10 minutes. Flip the strips of bacon and bake 10 minutes longer.

Pull out the bacon, flip all of the strips, and brush on some of the glaze. Bake 5 minutes.

Pull out the bacon again, flip over all of the strips, and brush on some of the glaze. Bake another 5 minutes.

One final time, pull out the bacon, flip the pieces, and brush on a final layer of the glaze. Bake 4 to 8 minutes or until the bacon reaches your desired color and crispiness. Discard any leftover glaze.

Transfer the cooked bacon to a clean rack. Drool until the bacon has cooled to room temperature. Devour.
Related Posts with Thumbnails