"Mmm...bacon."- Homer Simpson

Sunday, August 29, 2010

One of my dear friends, Emily, has recently started a food blog about bacon. Bacon is one of my favorite foods and a guilty pleasure.

When I came across this recipe, I thought it would be a great addition to both our blogs.

For those of you who don't like bacon, you can substitute chopped pecans for the bacon. I haven't made this recipe yet. Perhaps I will once the weather cools down considerably.

This recipe is dedicated to all adventurous and curious foodies, bacon lovers, and dessert lovers.

Pumpkin Caramel Bars with Bacon

Makes 24 bars. Total time: 1 hour + cooling

For the bars:
  • 8 oz. bacon, diced
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. table salt
  • 1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/4 cup chopped, toasted pecans (optional)
 For the Frosting:
  • 2 cups packed brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup water
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, cubed
  • 4 oz. cream cheese, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • Sea salt, optional
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat a 9 x 13-inch baking pan with non-stick spray.

Cook bacon in a saute pan over medium heat until crisp; drain on a paper-towel-lined plate and set aside. Reserve 2 Tbsp. drippings.

Whisk together pumpkin puree, granulated sugar, 1/2 cup brown sugar, egg, melted butter, bacon drippings, and vanilla in a large bowl until well blended. Stir in flour mixture and pecans, if using.

Spread pumpkin batter evenly into prepared pan; bake until a toothpick comes clean, about 20 minutes. Let cool completely before frosting.

Boil 2 cups brown sugar, water, and a pinch of salt for the frosting in a large saucepan over high heat, 5 minutes, gently swirling occasionally to prevent scorching. Whisk in cream and butter pieces. (Mixture will bubble furiously; keep whisking.) Boil 2 minutes more.

Transfer caramel to the bowl of a stand mixer; whip on high speed until sides of bowl are cool to the touch and caramel is thick, 8-10 minutes, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Add cream cheese, 1 cube at a time, until frosting is smooth. Frost cooled bars.

Finely chopped cooked bacon (or pecans) and sprinkle onto frosted bars with sea salt. Store bars in the refrigerator up to 1 week.

Recipe from Cuisine at Home magazine, October 2010, Issue 83.

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